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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . . Page.. 79 ..

Mr Hargreaves (continuing):

All we have to do is take the Liberal government's and Michael Moore's shallow and simplistic commitment over many years to maintain education funding, reinterpreted at will as the need arose to fend off criticism. There has been a six-year-long barrage of claims by the ACT government of excessive funding in education as an excuse to sit on their hands. All this penny-pinching government could do was moan about the levels of spending, the levels of teacher salaries and the need to close schools. We have heard it ad nauseam. We heard it from this Chief Minister when he was Minister for Education. Nothing has changed with the advent of the Liberals into self-government or in opposition throughout the period of self-government. Really, the cat is now out of the bag.

The federal Liberals have been blatant. The Howard government has admitted that their aim is to force the shift of students from public to private sector education. They have not hidden it. They are caught in that ideological mindset. Minister Kemp is on the record as saying that the coalition sought to encourage students to move from government to non-government schools, and they do that. He has backed this up with a shift of emphasis from the public to the private sector. He has done it by rewarding the richer and more elite schools. The richer the more elite private school, the more money it has received under Minister Kemp.

Mr Humphries: Is this relevant, Mr Deputy Speaker?

MR BERRY: The figures from the relevant departments show that the average category 1 schools, the richer schools, will get $800,000 per year and the average Catholic schools will get $60,000. What that clearly shows-

Mr Humphries: Mr Deputy Speaker, I-

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! What do you have, Mr Humphries? A point of order?

Mr Humphries: The matter of public importance is "The need for the ACT Government to ensure that our government schools set the benchmark for quality education". I think talking about the federal government is outside the terms of reference for that matter of public importance. Much as I would like to have a debate about that, that is not the subject of this debate. If I start to talk about the federal government I will be asked to withdraw.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: It is early stages, Mr Humphries.

MR BERRY: As the treasurer, Mr Humphries, I would have been ashamed to stand up and say that because it sort of suggests that you don't know anything about the funding arrangements between the federal and the territory governments and how they are inextricably intertwined.

Mr Humphries: You are asking the ACT government to focus on this. Your motion refers to the ACT government.

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