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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 April 2008) . . Page.. 863 ..

all of them ought to get with the program; come up to date. You are out of date by four years. You have wasted four years of your lives. They have grown old while we have got on with it.

The communication strategy is to go out there and talk to the community before you do something, while you do it and then you do it afterwards. What happens? Where are my table tennis balls? Plop, plop, plop, plop. For heaven’s sake! They criticise us for not talking to them when we do. (Time expired.)

Mr Seselja: Could you let it go for another five minutes, Mr Speaker?



MR PRATT: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training, Mr Barr. Minister, at the opposition’s recent forum on schools we heard the graphic details and saw the pain and distress of a young girl who had been the victim of a serious case of bullying, resulting in a violent assault, at Chisholm high school. Minister, you said recently, in relation to a case of violence at Calwell high school, that violence was not an issue at that school or any other government school in Canberra. Why did it take you several weeks after this violent attack to announce that police would now be formally involved in the government’s Safe Schools Taskforce?

MR BARR: I must address the first part of Mr Pratt’s question where he is again using a statement that the ABC attributed to me that was never made. The ABC have withdrawn—

Opposition members interjecting—

MR BARR: The ABC have acknowledged their error and withdrawn that statement. So at no point did I ever say that there were no issues at that school or within the ACT public education system or within the ACT education system as a whole, because, as we all know, unfortunately, incidents occur across all schools in the ACT. The data that we had out of ACT Policing was that, in terms of incidents where police were required to attend a school, it was pretty roughly split between the government and the non-government sector. So I am absolutely sick to death of this accusation that all of these issues are in the public sector only and do not apply in the non-government sector.

Opposition members interjecting—

MR BARR: The sort of stuff that we get peddled from the opposition about this is distressing not only for those school communities but for the public education system as a whole. And it is not just me who says this; it is everyone who is involved in public education. Just ask the Australian Education Union what their attitude is to the sort of misinformation that is peddled that this is a public sector issue only. It is not.

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