Page 3364 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 20 September 2005

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I notice a media release from Mrs Burke recently expressing her concerns with the reforms and saying that they would be closely monitored and that she would be keeping a close eye on the implementation of policy. I commend Mrs Burke for expressing those concerns in the public arena, considering it is her colleagues on the hill that are imposing them on the disability community. I hope that she remains vigilant in voicing her concerns.

Political advertising

MR MULCAHY: My question is directed to the Chief Minister. An advertisement was published in the Canberra Times on September 11, 2005 trumpeting “the Stanhope government’s commitment to government schools”. Although it was paid for by the ACT government, it was clearly a political advertisement, beginning “The Stanhope government … ”. If it had not been political, it would have referred only to the ACT government, without the political appellation “Stanhope”. Does the Chief Minister believe that this political advertising using public funds sets an appropriate standard for governments—territory and federal—to abide by in the future?

MR STANHOPE: Of course, it would take a member of the Liberal Party to have the gall to stand up in this place and ask a question about political advertising. Talk about the $20 million masters of that particular art! What an outrage that is. Of course, that $20 million outrage is related to an issue so close to the heart of Mr Mulcahy—somebody who, in his maiden speech in this place, insisted that ACT public servants were overpaid.

As we run up to the next election with Mr Mulcahy as leader, we look forward to hearing what he meant when he said that ACT public servants are overpaid and what he would do under a Mulcahy government. Of course, the Mulcahy government will never be known; it will be the Mulcahy opposition. Were it ever to become the Mulcahy government—because we know that is the only possible future—we would be interested to see what attitude it would have to public service rates of pay.

I do not think for one minute that this government—the Stanhope Labor government of the ACT, advertising in the Canberra Times, consulting with the people of Canberra about education, as we do and as is our wont—could possibly be charged with engaging in political advertising. We were consulting.

Just in this question time I received a question from one of your colleagues about the ACT government’s commitment to consultation with the education sector, and with the parents of west Belconnen in particular. Mr Mulcahy, you are surely not taking exception to the question or the position being put by your colleague, the destructive member for Ginninderra, who has absolutely no interest in educational outcomes in west Belconnen or educational outcomes for people within the government schooling system!

But you obviously take exception to Mrs Dunne’s position: here you are raising, for my attention, the issue of this government being determined to consult with all the people of Canberra about what we are doing or seeking to do in relation to education, particularly the education of people in west Belconnen. It gives me some confidence that at least you, Mr Mulcahy, understand, through your drawing attention to this issue, the government’s

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