Page 843 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

successive governments. There is no dispute about that. But when the Ginninderra district high school P & C and the school board came to you and said, “Do we have a problem? Are we at risk?” what did the department tell them? “No. Do not worry about it. You are not at risk.” They were deceived. They were deceived, the same as everybody else was. The whole Stanhope government approach to the government school sector in the ACT is characterised by Ms Gallagher’s deception. It has been perpetuated by her successor.

What we actually have here today is disgraceful. This is the acme of the Stanhope government’s approach to private members day, which is always “take out everything and substitute words of our own”. This started off as a motion about school closures and reopening schools that have closed and finding the reasons for it. What have we got? We have got a litany of all the things that have been done down to—and I think that this may be one of the things that make it out of order—the appointment of the vice chancellor of the University of Canberra. I think that is entirely out of order, because it is not about the original purpose of this motion.

This is Andrew Barr, minister for education, in super-drive. What he does when he is in a difficult position is speak very quickly and fill the space with a lot of words so that people cannot get a word in edgeways. People are not fooled by that. They might think he has got an amiable manner and he has got a good way with words, but they are not fooled by his technique.

In the same way, when he got on radio the other day and was talking about federal government cuts to national institutions, he spoke really, really quickly so that people could not get a word in edgeways. He made a fool of himself. He made a fool of himself by actually being in favour of cuts to national institutions because that would mean that people would come to the ACT rather than having to wait for the national institutions to go to them. This is the way that Mr Barr—

Mr Barr: On a point of order: aside from misrepresenting me, I am not sure what this has to do with education at all.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Gentleman): Mrs Dunne, stick to the relevance of the debate, please.

MRS DUNNE: It is a small aside that goes to the way that this minister operates because, when he is in trouble, he just keeps talking as much as he possibly can to try to cover his confusion.

Mr Barr: Coming from Ms Verbal Diarrhoea herself.

MRS DUNNE: I want that withdrawn, Mr Assistant Speaker.

Mr Barr: If Mrs Dunne has taken offence, I will withdraw.

MRS DUNNE: It is unparliamentary. This is a minister who has been confronted this week with the mismanagement and the callousness of—it could be his department but we know that this matter has gone as high as his office because we know that on

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .