Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 February 2009) . . Page.. 974 ..
Mr Hargreaves: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, would you control that unruly rabble, please, so we can hear what Mr Barr is saying.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Barr.
MR BARR: Last Thursday, Mr Speaker, I met with education stakeholders to seek their views in relation to the information that had been provided by the commonwealth on that point. I received their advice and then went and acted upon that. Following the briefings and the information I subsequently received from the commonwealth yesterday, I was then able to provide more advice to both the Greens and the Liberals today. Also in that briefing today, in addition to the latest information from the commonwealth—so, within 24 hours of receipt, I was able to brief the opposition parties—I was also able to provide the detail of the work and the advice that was provided to me by the education department, the Catholic Education Office and the Association of Independent Schools from Thursday of last week to provide the government’s proposed regulations in the planning system.
Fundamentally, Mr Speaker, what this comes down to is whether the Greens and the Liberals are going to stand in the way of ACT schools receiving $230 million in commonwealth funding. That is what it comes down to. That is the matter of substance. There is one party in this chamber at this point that appears able to give 100 per cent commitment to working with these school communities to ensure that they can access this school funding. We know the position of the Liberal Party—they are still yet to give even in-principle support to this commonwealth funding. We know that they opposed it bitterly in the House of Representatives and the Senate. We know the Liberal Party’s position in relation to funding for government schools in the ACT. Mrs Dunne has expressed it time and time again—it is throwing good money after bad investing in government schools. That is the position of the ACT Liberal Party. That is the position of the Canberra Liberals. That is why they have had so many education spokespeople over the entirety of my time as education minister—they are implacably opposed to funding for public schools.
It is disturbing, Mr Speaker, in the context of this debate that there is a position from the Canberra Liberals of opposition to funding for schools, and we know that that is consistent in the federal arena and the local arena. We know where the Liberals stand on this. My concern is the position outlined—
Mr Hanson: Mr Speaker, on a point of order on relevance, I think that the Greens have moved away from listening to the response to their own question. The question was about the briefing, about the timing of the briefing and not about the matters that Mr Barr is referring to.
MR SPEAKER: The point of order is upheld, Mr Barr. Can you return to the question.
MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. When providing briefings on matters of this significance, one would hope that parties would approach these issues with the level of significance that they deserve and that they would not have this sort of pointless