Page 3246 - Week 10 - Thursday, 25 August 2005

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For the information of members, today I wrote to the Leader of the Opposition, on the basis of the obvious lack of confidence that he and the shadow minister have in Commissioner Peter Dunn, in ACT policing, or the Emergency Services Authority, to invite them, following their next briefing with those who are responsible for security within the ACT, our Emergency Management Committee, to produce their plans. In a letter that I forwarded to Mr Smyth today I invited him to provide the government with a response.

Issues around security require bipartisan support; they require full community cooperation. If the Leader of the Opposition and Mr Pratt have better ideas than Commissioner Peter Dunn and Chief Police Officer Audrey Fagan about how to ensure the safety of the people of Canberra, we would welcome their contribution. Today I formally wrote to the Leader of the Opposition and asked him to provide the government with his wisdom and all the support he can supply to provide a better emergency services response than the response that is currently being provided by Commissioner Peter Dunn and Chief Police Officer Audrey Fagan.

In a spirit of bipartisanship and cooperation I look forward, as we all do, to Mr Pratt’s plans for making us safe. I hope that they do not end up seeing us all in court, along with all those others that Mr Pratt previously sought to save.

Education Amendment Bill 2005

MR SESELJA: My question is to Mrs Dunne, the shadow minister for education. Mrs Dunne, I note you have introduced an amendment to the Education Act. When will you be bringing on your amendment bill for debate and what is the reason for this timing? Can you explain the genesis and motivation for this amendment?

Mr Corbell: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This question relates to a matter on the notice paper. I think, for that reason, you cannot ask a question in relation to it.

MR SPEAKER: Questions can be asked about business pending on the notice paper but you cannot get involved in a debate about the issue.

MRS DUNNE: I thank Mr Seselja for his question, his ongoing interest in the matter of consultation and the ongoing and continued support of my colleagues on accountability in relation to the Education Act. Mr Speaker, in line with House of Representatives Practice, I will restrict my reply to public matters connected with the business of the Assembly for which I have charge. I shall not debate the substance of the bill but confine myself to explaining what I intend to be the timing of the debate and the reasons for that timing.

In response to the first part of the question, I will attempt to have the Education Amendment Bill 2005 debated in this place at the first possible opportunity—that is, 21 September. The reason is that the bill concerns not only a matter of public importance but of great urgency. It has to do with the very meaning of a crucial section of the Education Act 2004 and its immediate practical implications for a significant number of parents, students and teachers in the ACT. I refer to section 20 (5) and the provisions for community consultation before the closure or amalgamation of government schools.

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