Page 4831 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 14 December 2005

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outcomes. The results, which have been published today, reveal, again, the quality of schooling and schooling outputs in the ACT. The highlight, which we have seen referred to in today’s Canberra Times of those results, is absolutely fantastic.

In that context, it is appropriate that I congratulate the ACT’s leading student for 2005, Megan Nash. I congratulate Megan, as I am sure all members do. I am sure all members wish to join me in congratulating Megan Nash.

Members: Hear, hear!

MR STANHOPE: She graduated from Lake Ginninderra college with a university admission index score of 100—a perfect score. It is an absolutely amazing achievement by Megan Nash. On behalf of the government and, I am sure, all members, I extend our congratulations to Megan for that absolutely fantastic score. She is the top student in the ACT, with a perfect score of 100.

UAI scores are used to rank students hoping to gain entry to universities in the ACT and New South Wales. All students in the ACT, as we are probably all aware, will receive their certificates at graduation ceremonies, the majority of which are being held over the next day or so. In that respect, Megan and her peers in this year’s year 12 who have achieved quite wonderful scores that rank the ACT, again, as the leading educational jurisdiction in Australia are fantastic ambassadors for the ACT school system.

The non-government system would excuse me for making the point that, in this case, in 2005, Megan Nash is an absolutely fantastic ambassador most particularly for the government school system. I have to say with great regret—and I do not want to politicise these fantastic achievements by our students—that as recently as just yesterday we had the Liberal Party massed to launch, yet again, another assault on government schooling, curriculum and teachers particularly within the government system in the ACT. This is something that we have become used to in the Assembly.

Something that the community is very aware of is the ideological position of the opposition, expressed constantly by Mrs Dunne, on our schools. I recall in the last month or two Mrs Dunne, on behalf of the Liberal Party, saying, “We all know the issue is not one for the affluent. The affluent will simply buy a proper education, which is there to be bought by the affluent.” These were the words of Mrs Dunne in the last month or so in the context of her continued denigration of the government system. In Mrs Dunne’s words, one needed to understand that a proper education could be bought in the ACT; that a proper education, in any other circumstance, would not be achievable by anybody.

She went on then in the most patronising and denigrating way to say, “The poor, of course, don’t have that opportunity; they don’t have the opportunity to achieve a proper education because in the ACT the only way of achieving a proper education is to buy it.” They were the very words that Mrs Dunne used on 20 September this year.

In that context and in the context of the assault on government schools in this turgid debate on values, it is interesting to reflect on today’s Canberra Times and the words of Megan Nash about her schooling. As reported today, Megan said:

I know there was controversy earlier this year—

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