Page 1656 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 1 April 2009

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Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order, members! It is, according to House of Representatives Practice, not normal practice to illustrate newspaper headlines in the Assembly. My take on this matter—and I will continue to apply this through the course of this Assembly—is that demonstrating same for the purposes of illustration is acceptable, but we should not go excessively with the use of props in the Assembly. I think Minister Barr has made his point. I am sure that if you desist from using it now, Mr Barr, that will be fine. Thank you.

MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Speaker, for your ruling. I return to my answer. The very strong enrolments at Kingsford Smith school are just the latest in a very strong vote of confidence that ACT parents, carers and students have shown in the difficult decisions that were made in 2006 and all of the benefits that have flowed from that reform process.

I can tell you firsthand, Mr Speaker, that school communities such as St Clare’s Emmaus Christian school in Amaroo are very happy with the $15,000 in support for their parents and friends associations that the ACT government has provided.

I know that Ms Porter can attest that the school communities at Canberra high, St Francis Xavier and Belconnen high school, amongst others in her electorate, are very positive about the government’s plans to invest more in their education.

I know Ms Burch can attest to the very positive reaction from school communities such as those at Holy Family Parish primary, Torrens primary and St Anthony’s primary in her electorate of this government’s support for—

Opposition members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order, members of the opposition! Mr Barr is not—uncharacteristically not—jumping into you guys. So I invite you to listen quietly while he actually gives the information he is giving. If he is making political points against you, I think it is one thing to interject, but when he is just giving information, I think we can listen to him in some degree of quiet. Thank you. I call Minister Barr.

MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and thank you for your commentary on my question time responses. I am also aware, though, Mr Speaker, that there are those in this place who—

MR SPEAKER: Mr Barr, do not take advantage of my better nature.

MR BARR: But it would be worth observing, Mr Speaker, that throughout the 2006 reform process, those opposite stood in opposition for opposition’s sake. In terms of community reaction to the government’s reforms in 2006, we see one set of community reaction and that is parents and students voting with their feet and enrolling in public schools.

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