Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 April 2008) . . Page.. 844 ..
Monday afternoon his media adviser told the Canberra Times that, in relation to Lyons primary school, the options on the table were moving the kids to Yarralumla early or moving them into the hall.
On the same day, a parent who had made inquiries of the minister’s office, after being told about things, was rung—
Mr Barr: How dare you seek to verbal someone! Were you party to that conversation?
MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Mr Barr, I warn you.
MRS DUNNE: At the same time, a parent who had made inquiries of the minister’s office was rung by your DLO—on the same day—and told exactly the same thing. The options before her were that the children would be relocated early to Yarralumla or they would be removed to the hall—this is what the parent told me—and that the department would make a decision soon and she would be rung yesterday, to be told what the decision was.
She said to me, “Vicki, why are they bothering to go and talk to the school board if the minister is going to make up his mind beforehand?” That is what she was told; that was the understanding that she got from speaking to your office. You have been embarrassed; you have been shown to be recalcitrant; you have been shown to have no care for the people of Lyons. This is why you are in trouble. (Time expired.)
MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (12.07): Speaking to the amendment, not to close the debate, I do have to respond. We have seen some honestly finally from Ms Gallagher—to a point, it must be said. Finally Ms Gallagher has today, for the first time, made at least some acknowledgement that the people of the ACT were misled at the last election as a result of what she terms a mistake—not to retract what was said by her adviser on her behalf, which was that there would be no school closures in the next term of government.
Ms Gallagher can talk about how she had no plans, and cabinet documents will demonstrate they had no plans, at the 2004 election to close schools, but what was said on her behalf was that there would be no school closures—not that there were no plans—in the next term of government. That statement was never at any stage retracted.
Ms Gallagher, in an aside across the chamber, has acknowledged that our point that we have been making is correct. She never repudiated that statement. She terms it a mistake. I would suggest it was a deliberate strategy to mislead the people of the ACT because we saw, further to that, only two or three days out from the ACT election, in October of 2004, Ms Gallagher put out her statement which was scaremongering about the Liberals’ plans to close schools. We had the statement from Ms Gallagher’s adviser “no school closures in the next term of government”. We never had that repudiated.
Then we had a press release from the minister suggesting that it was the Liberals who had the plans to close schools, once again reinforcing the perception and the