Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 6 March 2008) . . Page.. 627 ..
you meant”. These are political arguments. They do not aid in the asking of the question. A question is to elicit facts and should also be brief. None of these apply to Mrs Dunne’s question, and I ask you to call her to order.
MR SPEAKER: I have already asked the member to come to the question.
MRS DUNNE: I was there, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: I think you were trying to stretch the envelope a little. Let us come to the question now.
MRS DUNNE: Chief Minister, for the information of the community and those personally affected by school closures, will you now table in the Assembly relevant documents that explicitly lay out your government’s plans made and announced prior to the 2004 election to close schools?
MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, I have answered this question on a number of occasions. On each of those occasions I have pointed very explicitly to the exact comment which the then minister for education, Ms Gallagher, made, which is recorded in the Canberra Times of 11 August 2004. In fact, that is less than two months before the election—six weeks out. Six weeks out from the last election, Ms Gallagher said, and she is reported in the Canberra Times of 11 August 2004 as saying:
… at some stage in the future … the community will have to have a conversation about this … old schools, new schools and about what they want from the future.
I cannot imagine a clearer signal than that in an election campaign, six weeks out from an election, by a minister for education on behalf of the government seeking election. It is very clear. People are not stupid. People know when a minister stands up and says, “This is an issue which we will have to discuss,” that the minister is saying, “This is an issue which requires attention, and we will discuss it.” The record is clear.
MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question—
Mr Smyth: Will you table that?
Mr Stanhope: It is in the Canberra Times. We know you are asleep most of the time, but you could at least struggle to the library and get it yourself.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Chief Minister and Mr Smyth, discontinue this conversation. Mrs Dunne, a supplementary question.
MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Dunne?
MRS DUNNE: Chief Minister, will you table in the Assembly the relevant documents that demonstrate where your government’s promise not to close schools in the next term of government was repudiated?