Page 983 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 25 February 2009

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Mr Smyth: How dare anyone criticise the minister!

MR BARR: I am not suggesting that the Greens are not entitled to do that. This is a political process. But what I will not cop is a suggestion that somehow the Greens are above politics and are not players in this game and this process. If they want to issue press releases bagging a particular position or a policy approach that the government proposes to take, before even seeking further information, and then come into this place and accuse me of not providing them with the information—after I have provided them with the information now—

Mr Stanhope: Sounds a bit like a double standard to me.

MR BARR: My hope is that—now that the information is on the table, now that the most recent information from the commonwealth government has been made available to the Greens and the Liberals, and now that the government has given to the other parties an indication of the proposals that we intend to put into regulation—there is no reasonable excuse for there not to be support for this to proceed. It would appear now, following that briefing and following the questions that were asked, that it would not be unreasonable for schools to now expect that they will get the green light to get on with this and that we will see support from all parties for this investment in schools.

I am optimistic. Perhaps I am too much of an optimist that, following the briefing today and following all of the information that has been provided, we might see a slight adjustment in the position of other parties, particularly noting the support of the P&C council, the AEU—

Mr Stanhope: Save Our Schools?

MR BARR: No, we have not heard from Save Our Schools. They are conspicuous in their silence.

Mr Stanhope: Where are Save Our Schools when you need them? Send an SOS to SOS.

MR BARR: I think we can send out an SOS for Save Our Schools. But in relation to the question from Ms Bresnan—I do not accept the premise of her argument. The fatal flaw in this particular approach from the Greens and the line of questioning that I am getting today is that there was that press release put out in advance of any discussion. Perhaps in the future there might be some lessons learned from all of this: before you come out issuing press releases and talking tough in the media in response to a proposal from the government—

Mr Smyth: Listen to yourself. Listen to your own advice for a change.

MR BARR: My advice to the Greens—

Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Barr, your time has expired.

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