Page 3359 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 20 September 2005
It may be—I do not know—that furniture has been removed. If it has been, I would be absolutely sure that it was furniture that was excess to the requirements of the students at Ginninderra district high school. I acknowledge, of course, that it is a very small school population. There is a population of something in the order of 160 students at a school that was built for 900.
Mrs Dunne: I raise a point of order under standing order 118A. I asked about the removal of furniture, not about the size of the school. I ask the Chief Minister to confine himself to addressing why the furniture was removed when the minister made an undertaking that it would not be.
MR SPEAKER: Stick to the subject matter of the question, Chief Minister.
MR STANHOPE: I will, Mr Speaker. I do not know whether any furniture was taken from Ginninderra district high school. I feel absolutely confident that absolutely nothing would have been done by the department or by staff at Ginninderra district high school in relation to furniture that would in any way impact on delivery of services or the education of children at Ginninderra district high school. I simply make the point that, in a school that was built for somewhere in the order of 900, it is conceivable that there is an awful lot of furniture within that school that is not now required and has not perhaps been utilised for years as a result of the fact that the school population has dropped from about 900 to about 160. It is quite conceivable.
Mrs Dunne: The minister said she would not remove any.
MR STANHOPE: If the minister did give such an undertaking—and she may have; I do not know what she may have said—under no circumstances should it be construed that the minister or the department or the staff of the school have taken any step that would impact on our capacity to provide quality education to the children at Ginninderra district high school.
What is the member suggesting: that the chairs and the desks of the remaining students, the 160 out of a potential 900, have been whipped away and that they are actually having their lessons on the floor? What is seriously being suggested: that we have actually ripped the chairs and the tables and the computers out of the school? Let me give you an assurance. Nothing will have been done at Ginninderra district high school in relation to the furniture and the fittings of that school that will impact on the quality of educational outcomes or on our capacity to support the students at Ginninderra district high school to the absolute limit.
MRS DUNNE: I ask a supplementary question. Chief Minister, is it government practice that removalists throw desks and bookshelves down stairwells to ensure that they are completely broken? Do you think it is entirely sensitive for the government’s agents to behave in this way during school hours in front of students who are still coming to terms with the destruction of their school community?
MR STANHOPE: The answer to the question is no. I think Mrs Dunne needs to reflect on that question and on the aspersions that she has cast in relation to anybody who might have been or is involved with that particular school. It really is quite scandalous for