Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 12 February 2008) . . Page.. 36 ..
2004 in the Canberra Times, just nine weeks prior to the ACT election, the Stanhope government said that there would be no school closures “in the next term of government”. Indeed, your government indicated that it would not happen during Ms Gallagher’s time in politics. Your government has subsequently decided to close 23 schools during this term. Chief Minister, how do you justify this clear breach of the community’s trust?
MR STANHOPE: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the question. This is a question of course that has been asked innumerable times over the last two years and it has been answered on as many occasions, fully and honestly. At the time of the last election the minister Ms Gallagher stated quite unequivocally that in fact the government would not commit on the issue or the question of school closures—
Mr Seselja: That’s not what it said in the Canberra Times.
MR STANHOPE: that it was always an open issue, as it should be.
Ms Gallagher: You know what I said, Zed.
Mr Seselja: I know exactly what you said, Katy.
Ms Gallagher: It just doesn’t suit you.
MR SPEAKER: Order!
MR STANHOPE: And the minister for education is on the record as stating explicitly that it was not a commitment that a government, a wise government, would make—
Opposition members interjecting—
Ms Gallagher: That’s inconvenient, isn’t it?
MR STANHOPE: and it was made in the lead-up to the election; it was made at the time.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Members will cease interjecting while the Chief Minister responds to the question—on both sides of the house.
MR STANHOPE: The interjections, of course, and the protests are always louder when the answer actually does not accord with the preconceived notion of the answer that was expected.
The facts of the matter are, as have been previously articulated and responded on innumerable occasions both inside this place and outside, that the minister for education at the time, speaking on behalf of the government, stated explicitly that the government would not rule out absolutely the prospect of school closures. A second statement, attributed to the government by a spokesperson, was made, which did contradict that position. But the minister for education, on behalf of the government, expressed the position explicitly that the government would not commit to that