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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 February 2008) . . Page.. 179 ..

So in wrapping up, I can say that the research indicates that students who receive second-language instruction are more creative and are better at solving complex problems than those who do not have that opportunity and that learning another language can help reinforce students’ knowledge of the English language and improve their literacy outcomes. The government has recognised the importance of language education, and I am very pleased to support Dr Foskey’s motion with the amendment that I have moved.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (3.50): Thank you very much to the government for the support of the first part of my motion. I thought, in wrapping up and in refuting the government’s amendment to my motion, I might run through my original motion. First of all, the part that is clearly non-controversial is that the Assembly acknowledges “(a) the significant social and economic benefits of a multi-lingual and multicultural society”. No more needs to be said about that.

The second part is “(b) the crucial role of high quality school language programs in supporting such a society”. While we all agree with that, perhaps there is going to be some difference between the various people here about what they believe constitutes a high-quality school language program. And clearly there is some difference between Mr Barr and me on that.

Thirdly, “(c) the need for all of us to engage with and learn from other cultures”. I believe that that is a very strong basis of the multicultural strategy and, again, I believe it is uncontroversial, although unfortunately we do know that there are people in our community who do not support that.

The second part of my motion is the one where clearly there is strong difference between the government and me. And this is an interesting matter. People will not have noticed because, of course, they are not as interested in what Mr Barr and I say as we are, but we had a little discussion because Mr Barr did not like the fact that I said that the government always changes our motions, that they agree with half of our motion then change the action part of the motion to what I see is a self-congratulatory form of words.

That is why I think it is interesting to have a look at what it is about the second part of the motion that the government does not like. First of all, “(a) a key element of the curriculum delivered in ACT schools is an engagement with other cultures through learning an additional language”. Given that the government has rephrased that very similarly, clearly that is not where we disagree.

Part No 2 is “(b) sustained, and meaningful language learning experiences are provided for all students in ACT schools”. Again, really, the government’s amendment just changes the tense. This is where I think we come to the heart of the disagreement and why it is that the government changed my motion, and that is they perceive a sense that my motion is saying that something that should be done is not being done.

When we get to (c) we probably get to the crux of it because my (c) says, “priority is given, through realistic funding and support, to attracting and retaining qualified and

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