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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 13 November 2007) . . Page.. 3311 ..

school.” This actually begs the question: how many people are now smoking and how many were smoking hitherto?

Over the last two weeks, this debacle, this farrago from Mr Barr and his faggate has revealed that we actually have a situation where we are giving young students permission to smoke at school and saying that it is all right. No matter how much the minister and his officials bend over backwards saying that permissions were not given, the clear message is that it is all right to smoke in and around ACT government schools.

What does that do for the reputation of ACT government schools? At a time when people are queuing to leave the government school sector and go to the non-government school sector, especially in the high schools, we have this absolutely disastrous public relations event brought about by Mr Barr. As a result there are more people wanting to leave.

I have actually come across people who have said to me, “This school was on my list of possibles. It is no longer on my list of possibles.” Mr Barr, through his mishandling of this matter, once again has brought down the reputation of ACT government schools. Mr Stanhope came in here today with his new appropriation bill saying that he wants ACT government schools to be the first choice for all Canberrans. So do I, Mr Speaker. But nothing that Mr Barr, the minister for education, has done in the past fortnight has done anything to enhance their reputation.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 6.25 pm.

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