Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 15 Hansard (Tuesday, 13 December 2005) . . Page.. 4763 ..
school is a relevant place for them. I hate to have to disillusion people, but many students go to school more to see their friends than to go to classes, and that is the case whatever school they go to. That is a fact about young people’s lives; they are extremely social beings.
What can we do? We can make sure that they leave school with the skills to follow up their interests, no matter when they find out what they are. How many people do not find out what they want to do until they are middle-aged? Quite a few. Firstly, we always need to have the skills to be able to pick up whatever area of learning we want to take on, whatever profession that might lead to, and, secondly and most importantly, we need to know the way so that through our whole life we can engage in education and learning.
We focus here on schools time after time—that is important; it is an ACT area of responsibility—but we must always remember that there should be opportunities for those people who drop out of school because they do not engage. We have many students at risk for whom schools are the most stable things in their lives. They are very important places not just because of what is thought. They must be supported, public schools arguably more so because they are the place where poor people can afford to send their kids.
Many years ago a man called John Holt wrote a number of books about learning and education. One of those books was called How children learn. As I say, none of this is new. This one was probably written in the 1950s, 1960s or 1970s, and the theory there is that you start from where the child itself is. If you can do that, if you can provide the resources, if you can provide the interesting topics, if you can provide the social milieu, that child will have a very good start in life.
It is great that we are having this discussion. It is not good that it just leads to self-congratulation on the part of ACT government members and it is not good that we do not hear too much acknowledgment of the good things that are happening from the opposition.
MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (4.48): I welcome the opportunity to speak today on this matter of public importance. I would like to speak about the so-called experts that Mrs Dunne has referred to; in particular, Dr Kevin Donnelly, a Liberal Party apparatchik
Mrs Dunne: I did not refer to him.
MS MacDONALD: Mrs Dunne may not have referred to Dr Donnelly today, but she has referred to him previously.
Ms Dunne: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. Ms MacDonald has just said that I referred to an expert. I did not refer to any expert and I did not mention Dr Donnelly. I have been misrepresented.
MR SPEAKER: That is not a point of order. Sit down.
MS MacDONALD: Mrs Dunne has referred to him in the past. She does not like to have it pointed out, but he has been referred to by those opposite. He is a Liberal Party