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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (10 March) . . Page.. 513 ..

Ms Carnell: So you are going to support whatever comes out? You support the action of whatever anyone did?

Mr Berry: I just want the Minister to answer the question.


Mr Stanhope: He wants to answer it, too.

MR SPEAKER: Nevertheless, I would caution the Minister. I only know what I have read in the media today, but I would caution the Minister as to how he answers the question. Mr Stefaniak, do not reflect on matters that Mr Humphries has adverted to that may prejudice what I understand is a continuing inquiry.

MR STEFANIAK: Quite so, Mr Speaker. For Mr Berry to say the Government has embarked on a signal exercise is quite wrong. The Government and the department have a duty to treat this matter seriously. An investigation has started and for anyone to speculate on the outcome of that, or to speculate in relation to anything with regards to that, would be quite wrong. The Attorney-General's points are spot on in relation to that.

Mr Berry, I do not know what General Pinochet has to do with it. Really, this is the ACT Legislative Assembly, not Chile or a London hospital, but you do raise a couple of other points. You mentioned Downer Preschool, and I note that you made some comments yourself in the media on that. I will make some generic comments in relation to assessment of numbers. Again I stress that people should not comment in any way in relation to this ongoing investigation. You mentioned Downer Preschool and enrolment numbers and censuses. In our school system, Mr Berry, we have a census in about the middle of February in terms of how many students are at any particular school at any one time. There is another census later in the year. I understand that that is in June.

The Downer Preschool census, or any preschool census, Mr Berry, relates to anticipated numbers. That is kids who are going to be there next year. That is a very different type of census from a school census. So, yes, you have got that one wrong.

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, my supplementary question is as follows: Is it not true that your attack on this issue is just a Trojan horse in your campaign to close schools and undermine the quality of the education system in the ACT? Is it not just a continuum of your announcement of late in relation to school spaces? Is this not just a continuation of your attack on the ACT education system, which began, incidentally, with your cuts to the education budget?


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