Page 3533 - Week 11 - Thursday, 22 September 2005

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MR SPEAKER: It is a broad-ranging debate, Mrs Dunne, and I think that your contribution to the debate was fairly broad ranging as well.

Mrs Dunne: But there was no discussion of curriculum renewal and there is no discussion in the motion of curriculum renewal. I am quite happy to have the debate, but this is not the place.

MR SPEAKER: Resume your seat. There is no point of order. We might as well go over this point now. Yesterday, there was an exchange of points of order in relation to a question by Mr Seselja. Mr Seselja asked a broad-ranging question in which he mentioned architects and developers working interstate, the development application process and frustration with the ACT Planning Authority. It was a broad-ranging question and he used, as an example, Amaroo school. Mr Corbell covered those broad-ranging issues in his response to the question.

You raised an absolutely non-existent point of order in relation to the matter. But it was not just once that you did that; you repeatedly raised points of order that had nothing to do with the question that had been asked. I point you to standing order 202(a), which refers to persistent and wilful obstruction of the business of the Assembly. Points of order of this nature, which deliberately interfere with the debate, are not going to be tolerated. I will name you, Mrs Dunne, if you continue with this practice. It is interference with the course of debate in this place.

Let me say as well that I am not one to see this chamber became a place where nothing humorous can be said in debate and I do not want to be in a position where I have to be extraordinarily firm in relation to the assessment of contributions to debate in this place, because it would stifle discussion, but I am not going to tolerate debates being interfered with by points of order which do not have substance.

MR STANHOPE: Mrs Dunne, in her media and other comments on the public record and elsewhere, has a habit of complicating the debate with pompous rhetoric, such as “half-digested, postmodernist theory,” as we heard again today, to describe critical literacy, which simple MLAs like me have trouble understanding. Had I been fortunate enough to study critical literacy in school, I might have been in a better position to understand her comments. I challenge anybody in this place to say that they know what Mrs Dunne is talking about when she talks about half-digested, postmodernist theory.

Had each of us had the benefit of studying it, we might have had a better chance of understanding what she means, but Mrs Dunne seems to be suggesting that the ACT is the only jurisdiction in the country that includes critical literacy in its curriculum. Of course, as we all know, that is just not true. There is no evidence to suggest that any jurisdiction anywhere in Australia is abandoning critical thinking and critical literacy from their curriculum. On the contrary, critical literacy skills have been a core component of literacy teaching and learning for a long time, supported incidentally by Mrs Dunne’s federal colleagues, and will remain an important part of English curricula in all states and territories.

The recently developed national statement of learning for English, agreed to by all Australian education ministers in 2004, commits jurisdictions to providing an English

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