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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (21 June) . . Page.. 2355 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

proposal is a tax concession, the other one was a tax concession, too, but you did not want those poor people to have it. It is okay to give a tax concession to some people, 25 per cent of the students in schools, but it was not good to give a tax concession to those poor people who were at risk because of their drug dependence.

They stood by their principles then. I did not agree with them. I do not think they should have done what they did. Labor was prepared to deal with the government. The government was keen to get out of its commitment on supervised injecting rooms and found a quick political fix. That is life. They stood by their principles last year. How about standing by them this year? How about voting with me today Mr Rugendyke? Are you going to vote with me today? Just say yes and I will stop badgering you. Until you say yes, I am going to keep badgering you and I am going to say to you what I just said to members of the government about my words ringing in their ears over every dollar they spend between now and the election on this wasteful free school bus system. They are going to ring in your ears, too. I am going to say that it need not have happened if Mr Rugendyke and Mr Osborne had stood by their principles, come with Labor and made sure that this money went to all of the kids in our schools, not just 25 per cent of them.

As I go round all of the Ginninderra electorate schools, I will say, "Do you remember when Mr Rugendyke came and saw you?" They will say, "How could you forget it. He has been here." I will say, "Do you remember what he said to the government?" They will say, "Yes, we saw it on the front page of the Chronicle. He said in there that he did not like the free school bus scheme and the money should come out of the budget and go into classrooms. We agree with him." I will then say to them, "What did he do?" They will all say that he did not have the courage of his convictions and they will all be looking at their feet because, rightfully so, they will be disappointed as they believed Mr Rugendyke when he said what he said publicly. Mr Speaker, I say through you to Mr Rugendyke that my words will ring in his ears each time a dollar is spent on this wasteful project.

Mr Speaker, when asked about this proposal by the Estimates Committee, government officials made it clear that no work had been done on it. No consideration has been given to the impact on neighbourhood schools. I would like to draw attention to, say, Cook Primary School, which has 140 students.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Your time has expired, Mr Berry. Do you wish to take an extra 10 minutes?

MR BERRY: That is probably worth while. What is going to happen to Cook Primary School, or any other school with small enrolment numbers, if all of a sudden there is a move away from the school, via a free school bus system, to another school? All of a sudden, if it happened under the lot opposite anyway, there would be pressure to close the school. There might be such a move the school because of the free school bus system that it just could not work. That may well be the case.

I am a great supporter of neighbourhood schools. In fact, I stood at the front of the Cook school for many hours to prevent Gary Humphries' lot bulldozing it. I stood out the front and stopped them from bulldozing it and other schools as well. When you were going

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