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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 566 ..



is orientation. If it was a genuine training program I am sure there would have been a lot more support about for it and there would have been people echoing the Government's view in large numbers. But it is not a genuine training program. This is a work for the dole program and that is the difference. This is an extension of the Federal Government's ideological position of blaming the victims. It does not create any jobs, it does not provide training which will be of use to participants in the education system, and it does not guarantee them any jobs in an education system.

Mr Speaker, I found the Minister's position in relation to this disappointing. I think the department's management of it was disappointing, though I think, on the face of it, that it was thrust upon them and that it is not something that they are particularly happy about because it does amount to the involvement of 140 participants across our education system and it does involve a great deal of management of those participants throughout the system.

If the Government decides to reject the recommendations of the committee I think there will be a great deal of concern amongst school staff about how they manage this because it will absorb a great deal of energy which will be a distraction from the main game - that is, the education of young people in our system. The report, I think, has shown that the whole idea has been badly put together and needs a lot more work before it would be acceptable to the education values of our society and acceptable to the treatment that young unemployed people, or unemployed people of any age, should expect from a government.

Mr Speaker, I support this report without question. It could have been a lot stronger, and it could have been a lot more vitriolic about the Government's position. It is a sensible report that charts a way forward if the Government is sensible enough to accept it. I must say that it seems that the Government has already established its view, if one looks at Mr Hird's strident criticism of the report. That is a pity. I would urge the Government to reconsider its position and not adopt the view which has been reflected in the report to the committee by Mr Hird.

It was only yesterday, Mr Hird, that we had to change the standing orders because of your involvement in committees and to provide some protection for the community. The community deserves to be protected from this sort of nonsense as well and I would urge you to reconsider your position when you are writing or taking advice in relation to dissenting reports. This report deserves a more positive response than you have given it. I think you have done yourself a disservice. I urge the Government not to mimic this line because I think it would show a contempt for the committee process. Sure, the Government does not like criticism, but I think the criticism in this report is constructive and it is worth proper consideration and implementation. Mr Speaker, I urge members to support this report in its entirety. It is most important that the Government do so.

MR HIRD (11.36): Mr Speaker, I acknowledge my colleagues on the Standing Committee on Education, the Chair, Ms Tucker, Mr Berry, and also the secretary, Judith Henderson. I also acknowledge the list of submissions received in the report, which appears at Appendix 1, and the list of witnesses at public hearings, which appears at Appendix 2, and I thank them for their contribution.

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