Page 3386 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 20 September 2005

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The second issue I would wish to focus on is that a culture of respect also needs to be dramatically worked on if we want our kids to get the full benefit of the curriculum. Our teaching and learning environment must not only adopt the correct approach to curriculum but must be enabled to cultivate a culture of respect. Then that holistically addresses our education system for both educators and students alike. This is fundamentally necessary for two reasons: one, to prepare our children to become good citizens; and, two, to clear the way in terms of a safe and clean teaching and learning environment to allow our children to properly engage with and exploit the curriculum. This encompasses a number of areas.

The government has certainly made some headway in a number of these areas. They have certainly made some headway but there is a long way to go. We know that. We know that there is a long way to go in trying to improve these areas. Certainly the safety of teachers as well as students, certainly the bullying aspect, needs to be further addressed.

Thirdly, both principals and teachers need to be supported against the culture or what is now an indiscipline and disrespect. The department needs to provide better measures to take care of those issues. As I say, fundamentally, if we can sort out in our schools this culture of respect so that our children better respect their teachers and their teachers are therefore given more space and more manoeuvre space to focus on their teaching skills, it is going to be a win-win; kids will learn better; they will be able to focus better; and they will be able to exploit that curriculum. As we say, as I finish, the curriculum itself has a lot of holes in it. It needs to be improved if we are going to pull up the bottom echelons of our students as well as exploit the successes of that top echelon.

I commend this MPI. I suggest the government needs to have a look at a whole range of these issues. There is a lot more that can be done with education in the ACT.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (4.37): I am grateful to Mrs Dunne for providing me yet again the opportunity to speak about the strength and vitality of education in the ACT. As Mr Stanhope indicated, this government has consistently demonstrated this commitment to the education of our young people.

As Mr Stanhope said, one only needs to explore the 2005-06 budget handed down in May this year by Mr Quinlan. This budget, as we have concluded in this place, was one of responsibility. It was a budget that committed to and affirmed the value of service delivery in education and in health. I would like to quote a sentence from these papers which articulates the government’s commitment to education:

The government is committed to maintaining a well-educated community by ensuring that all students have access to quality education regardless of economic circumstances.

If you think about this sentence in the context of Mrs Dunne’s grossly damaging crusade against the government’s commitment to excellent public education in the ACT, in Ginninderra in particular, you will see it sits in stark contrast. While the government realises its vision by ensuring that facilities and services at the disposal of ACT public school students rival any school in the country, Mrs Dunne provides no mechanism for

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