Page 154 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 13 February 2008

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be French, German, Spanish or an Asian language. We in Australia are slipping behind that a bit and I think we all agree here that it is an important part of our culture, that it would be better if we had more people in Australia who were bilingual and more people in Canberra who were bilingual.

So we broadly support the sentiment behind much of what Dr Foskey had to say. In terms of committing to the exact detail of what is being called for, we will look at that more closely, but certainly our position is that languages and language studies play an important role in our community; they are a positive and should be encouraged. We would like to see more of it. We would like to see it done in a more comprehensive way than it currently is and, as I said, I am sure that is true of both the government sector and the non-government sector in terms of language studies.

So we broadly support the sentiment behind Dr Foskey’s motion. The amendment has just been put in front of me and it is the usual government amendment, congratulating itself. If we could occasionally allow a motion to just be debated on its merits, that might be a positive. I note that the government have circulated amendments to my motion coming up, but I will leave it there.

I would just say that the Labor Party is obviously a very divided party on this issue of ethnic education. We support the broad principles behind this motion and we support broadly the need for better language studies in our schools.

MR SPEAKER: I remind members that it is a requirement of the standing orders to circulate copies of amendments immediately so that members can be well informed about what they are speaking on when I put the question in relation to amendments. For minor amendments it might not seem to be much of a problem, but as the amendments become more complex it becomes a little unfair on the following speakers, especially if they are getting towards the end of the list.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.27 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice


MR SESELJA: My question is to the Chief Minister. I refer to your answer to my question yesterday and the document which you tabled in relation to it, which was the Hansard of 26 August 2004. The Hansard records the then Minister for Education, Ms Gallagher, saying a number of things about school closures, most notably that “the government has no plans to close any schools” and that “future assemblies would have to have a conversation at some point with the community about potential school closures”.

Chief Minister, would you point me to the part of this statement, or any other public statement of Ms Gallagher prior to the 2004 election, where the specific promise not to close any schools in the next term of government was repudiated?

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