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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (20 May) . . Page.. 408 ..

MR HIRD (continuing):

The officers undertook to conduct a comprehensive review of this system, and Mr Hargreaves runs away and makes a martyr of himself by placing this motion under private members business and taking up the time of this house when we have better things to deal with. I am not talking about the substance of the motion; just the way that he has gone about doing it. He knows full well, Mr Speaker, that ACTION management is going to undertake this review.

I listened to my learned colleague Mr Osborne and his foreshadowed amendment, which is of some interest. I was interested to hear about Ms Tucker's removal of a motion on the notice paper prior to my being called by you, Mr Speaker. I should have thought Mr Hargreaves would have done the decent thing and not brought this motion into this house because he knows full well that ACTION management, through the Minister for Urban Services, is undertaking a complete review. I think this is just a sheer waste of time by Mr Hargreaves and the Opposition in trying to score points at the expense of a school bus service which is being reviewed right now. The review is being undertaken right now by the management, and I urge members not to support this motion.

MS TUCKER (3.29): I will not be supporting Mr Smyth's amendments, but I will say that I am glad to see that ACTION and the Government have picked up the Graham report. I am happy to give credit where credit is due. I believe that Mr Hargreaves has raised some quite important issues, and I was interested to hear what Mr Osborne had to say on the matter as well. When you realise that children have indeed been left at a bus stop, which is a quite traumatic experience for parents and the children, you really want to know that that sort of thing is not going to happen again with a school bus service. I was disappointed in Mr Smyth's response. Obviously, this banter happens. Point-scoring is what it is all about, but it is unnecessary and does not add to debate of the issues.

I think legitimate concerns have been raised. Legitimate concern was raised by Mr Hargreaves about the quality of the review and the detail it has gone into. I would have been much happier - and maybe even happy to support Mr Smyth's amendments - if Mr Smyth had acknowledged that maybe the review process is not as good as it could be and we could do a little better. I am prepared to support Mr Hargreaves's motion because I think it is really important that the Government start to acknowledge that criticism can be seen as information. Even in a political forum it is not always necessary to refute criticism totally. If it is seen as information, we could actually progress things to improve services. Maybe it is necessary to look at how we review the whole school bus system. I conclude by saying again that I am really glad that the Government is picking up the Graham report, even though I do not agree with all of it. I have made that clear in this place. I am concerned about the signage system, and so on; but that is another debate for another day. I will support this motion and I will support Mr Osborne's foreshadowed amendment.

Amendments (Mr Smyth's) negatived.

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