Page 850 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 2 April 2008

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MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mrs Dunne?

MRS DUNNE: Chief Minister, why do you allow the continual misleading of the people of the ACT on your plans for school closures and why do you not do anything about the fact that the minister said in this place, and it is recorded in Hansard, that “the government has no plans to close … schools”?

MR STANHOPE: That was the position that the government put at the time. That was the position that the minister put, and it was the truth.

Opposition members interjecting—

MR STANHOPE: It was the absolute and whole truth. At the time that the statement was made, it was absolutely 100 per cent gold-plated truth.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Members of the opposition, come to order, please.

Civil unions legislation

DR FOSKEY: My question is for the Attorney-General and it concerns civil unions. The media has reported that the federal Labor government does not accept ceremonial aspects of the ACT’s civil partnerships model. Can the minister please inform the Assembly of the progress the government has made in talks with the current federal government about amendments to the Civil Partnerships Bill?

MR CORBELL: I thank Dr Foskey for the question. Yes, I can advise the Assembly that negotiations are continuing between the ACT government and the commonwealth government. There has been no conclusion reached in those negotiations to date, but I can indicate that the lines of communication have remained open and positive throughout between me and my counterpart Mr McClelland and I am hopeful that we can reach a productive outcome that will allow the ACT to proceed with its legislation in a form that is consistent with the principles we have said are important and which, hopefully, is able to address and clarify the concerns being raised by the commonwealth government.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Dr Foskey?

DR FOSKEY: Yes, thank you. Could the minister please advise the Assembly how long the ACT government is prepared to remain in negotiation with the federal government before it will make a decision on the course of action it will take?

MR CORBELL: I do not think it would be helpful to indicate such a position while negotiations are ongoing.


MRS BURKE: My question, through you, Mr Speaker, is to the minister for education, Mr Barr. Minister, last week the ABS released its measures of

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