Page 3536 - Week 11 - Thursday, 22 September 2005

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Mrs Dunne: I did not read the article in the paper this morning.

DR FOSKEY: It happened yesterday at the National Press Club. There has been a concerted attack on critical thinking from various perspectives—normally we would see it positioned on the right across the country—and we are not the only jurisdiction experiencing that.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (11.21): Mr Speaker, I was interested in what Dr Foskey said. I hope the government listened to it. In supporting the motion, she made a quite reasonable statement when she said that she was not opposed to the process, but was yet to be convinced that this model was, in fact, the only one; in other words, she had an open mind. I think that Mrs Dunne’s suggestion is eminently sensible in relation to this very controversial decision by the government to build this superschool, especially when one considers the views of the community. I will go through a couple of the points Mrs Dunne makes in support of her sensible motion.

The Chief Minister, in his diatribe against Mrs Dunne, certainly did not address the issue. In the rest of his speech he seemed to be indicating that the government had made up its mind and the proposed school is going to be absolutely fantastic, blocking out all other views to the contrary. He accused Mrs Dunne of seeking to have an inquiry simply to score political points. She is a politician, she is a representative in this Assembly and, indeed, she will continue to score some very good political points as a result of the government’s arrogant attitude in relation to this proposal. She is doing so already. It is her job to do so. So I think that that was a ludicrous statement by the Chief Minister. Let us look at some of the points Mrs Dunne raises in her motion.

Mr Stanhope: Where were you when Charnwood high school closed?

MR STEFANIAK: At least we consulted.

Mr Stanhope: And then closed it.

MR STEFANIAK: And at least there were options there for consideration, such as—

Mr Stanhope: Close it or close it.

MR STEFANIAK: To give one example, such as twinning with Melba.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Discussions across the floor are disorderly.

MR STEFANIAK: But we did not approach that with a completely closed mind, Mr Stanhope. There were similar problems with numbers. So I would not use that one as an example. Let us look at some of these points.

Mr Stanhope: No, let’s not use Charnwood high school as an example.

MR STEFANIAK: I would not use it as an example because at least we consulted. We did not say, “This is going to happen. Bang, that’s it. Bad luck.” In fact, if you look at Mrs Dunne’s first point you will see that she wants to examine the process by which the

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