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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2154 ..

MR OSBORNE (continuing):

There has been a fair amount of criticism of Mr Moore about being inconsistent, but I have sat next to Mr Moore for three years and I learnt this principle from him. I think he has been consistent on this issue during the time that I have been in here with him. I think some of the criticism levelled at him on this issue has been unwarranted.

Mr Speaker, I will not be supporting this legislation. I think it is just as big a stunt as the government has been accused of pulling in going ahead with free bus travel. I will be interested in the response from the Labor Party should they be in government next year and someone attempts to do this to their budget.

Mr Berry: We will protest and be crushed by the numbers, the same as everybody else is.

MR OSBORNE: But I will support you.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (11.47): Mr Speaker, there is a lot of strength in what Mr Osborne said and a lot of hypocrisy in what has been said by those opposite. For Mr Stanhope to come into this place and criticise this government in terms of education funding and not spending enough on education is hypocrisy in the extreme.

To my knowledge, Mr Speaker, there has only been one government that tried to cut education expenditure, and that was the government of Rosemary Follett, an Australian Labor Party government, back in, I think, 1993-94. We heard Mr Moore refer to that particular debate and the motion that you, Mr Speaker, moved in relation to that. Whether that was right or wrong at the time is perhaps not pertinent to my point, which is that it is hypocrisy in the extreme for the opposition to claim that we are not doing enough when they cut it when they were in government. Even organisations with as vested an interest as the P&C recognise that at least under this government education expenditure has gone up. Obviously they would like a lot more.

I point out to Mr Stanhope, too, that he seems to have his productivity figures completely around the wrong way. Indeed, the way they are measured leaves something to be desired. But even on those figures, Mr Stanhope, this government for many years, certainly in the late 1990s, was ranked a lot higher in terms of actual expenditure than most of the other states and territories. I think we were around about second. By the way, Mr Stanhope, I think the Northern Territory has always been on top in terms of how much it spends per student.

I suggest that Mr Stanhope look again at those figures. If he does he will find that during the time of the Labor government we were down to about fifth. Yes, there were recent figures which showed we were fifth again. Guess what. We did not build many schools then, so he has got his capital thing mixed up there. How effective is that as a measure of how good a system is? Well, we have some diseconomies of scale because, although we are small, we are compact. So there are a lot of factors in there.

One thing I dispute, Mr Speaker, is that he says the outcomes are down. I think you will find, even if you look at the productivity figures, that what we have spent has kept us towards the top. But in terms of the outcomes, the outcomes are excellent. The literacy outcome for year 3 was 94.8 per cent. I defy any other state to beat that. I don't think

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