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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (10 April) . . Page.. 941 ..

MR SPEAKER: Order! Hansard is going to have awful difficulty hearing Ms Dundas while there are two or three separate meetings going on in the place. If members have a need to converse with each other in separate little groups, perhaps we ought to suspend for half an hour until you get it sorted out. I want to hear Ms Dundas. I do not want to hear any other groups while she is speaking.

MS DUNDAS: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will just repeat my last sentence for Hansard and the Assembly. I believe that this motion instigates a formal means of ensuring that committee recommendations continue to be recognised and implemented in the machinery of government without MLAs having to constantly remind the government to do so.

Motion agreed to.

Education funding inquiry-committee of reference

MR PRATT (4.52): I move the motion standing in my name on the notice paper relating to the establishment of a committee of reference for the government's education inquiry, which reads:

That the Assembly urges the Minister for Education to establish a 'Committee of Reference' representative of all sectors, to work with the consultant, Ms Connors, who has been appointed to conduct the Education Inquiry, so that the ACT community may be assured that the Government inquiry to be undertaken into our education system will be sufficiently balanced to review all relevant aspects of ACT education.

Mr Speaker, this motion arose from my deep concern about the education inquiry initiated by the minister, Mr Corbell. I believe that such an inquiry into an education system as complex and diverse as ours requires a diverse and balanced panel to manage the inquiry, not a single appointee, however well credentialled. I believe the minister has ignored this fundamental requirement by appointing a single person to be in sole charge of this vital project.

You, minister, wish to talk about Ms Connors, however, minister, we want to talk about you and the way in which this inquiry has been cobbled together. Mr Speaker, the minister will always seek to characterise our questioning of this inquiry as a personal attack. We are, in fact, questioning the minister's commitment to collaborative community action. Indeed, yesterday the minister was going on about the importance of collaboration, but the fact is that he does not practise it.

What is wrong with a collaborative approach: an inquiry by a committee of reference that broadly represents the community and reflects community ownership of the subject? The minister wants to talk about Ms Connors. Well, on behalf of the ACT community, we want to talk about lack of judgment, questionable actions regarding budget management, and policy planning ineptitude.

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