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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 August 2008) . . Page.. 2980 ..

I think this is a very holistic policy. I think it attacks many of the problems that this government have simply been in denial over. Successive education minister—three, in total—simply have not attacked the issue head-on. Smaller class sizes mean, as we see here, teachers will be able to control children within their care and, of course, that relates more to antisocial behaviour as well. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MR SPEAKER: I call Mr Seselja, to close the debate.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (5.00): I thought I was speaking to the amendment.

MR SPEAKER: You can speak to the amendment and close the debate if you wish. I cannot see a—

MR SESELJA: I cannot see a lot of—

MR SPEAKER: There is not a mad rush for the call.

MR SESELJA: I will speak to the amendment at this point and we will see whether anyone makes their way down. I would like to speak to the amendment in particular because, as usual, we have seen the government, particularly in their embarrassment over this minister’s lack of educational policy, come out with a list of all the stuff they have done.

It does not say anywhere here, in fact, that this government have reduced the proportion of government spending on education. But under this government educational spending as a proportion of the budget has gone backwards. They can talk about all the stuff they have done, but we have seen school closures when they said there would be none, and we have seen less of a commitment to education because, as a proportion of the budget, this government now spends less on education than when they came to office.

That does demonstrate their commitments. It does demonstrate their priorities. And we know what their priorities are. We have seen them. We see them all the time. When we drive up the Gungahlin Drive extension, we see the Labor Party’s priorities. We see the twisted metal on the side of the road. We go out to Fairbairn and we see the Labor Party’s priorities—empty buildings, at $180,000 a month. That is what they spend money on, instead of devoting it to better educational outcomes.

It is interesting to look at this amendment. This Assembly will, no doubt, because of the Labor Party’s majority, pass this amendment. The minister could not even speak to the second amendment. He is happy to put it out there but he would not speak to it because he knows it is wrong. He cannot demonstrate his case. He did not say one word or devote one second of his time to backing up No 2. He cannot because he is wrong. He is wrong again. We gave him the chance yesterday. He hid; he did not want to take the 15 minutes, so he took eight minutes to tell us all sorts of things other than backing up his claim and backing up the claim of his Treasurer.

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