Page 1830 - Week 05 - Thursday, 2 April 2009

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great institutions in the Canberra arts organisation has to be Megalo. I spent some time at Megalo recently, visiting the facilities and taking in some of the exhibitions.

In the performing arts, there has been a great breadth of experiences—from international professional theatre in the form of the Canberra Theatre’s opening event for 2009, The 39 Steps, with its extraordinary physical theatre, to a more modest amateur production of The Pink Panther in the Courtyard Studio at the Canberra Theatre Centre. One of the events of the Canberra Festival was Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, which was a great nostalgia boost for me. It took me back to undergraduate days as a French student. Jacques Brel was the great passion of my French professor, and it brought back the Gauloise smoking period of 30 years or more ago.

I really do need to pay tribute to the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and their extraordinary serenade concert last night. It was a great coup for the Canberra Symphony Orchestra to have as the soloist for this performance someone who is perhaps, I understand, the only non-Russian ever to have won a Tchaikovsky violin competition and who came to Canberra solely to perform in this series of concerts. It is a great coup for the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and the extraordinary work that they do on very insubstantial amounts of money. We are great beneficiaries. The concert last night was a great relief after a hectic sitting day—especially the Brahms, which had a new touch that I had never experienced before.

I commend those organisations and many other arts organisations in the ACT for their extraordinary contribution to our life.


MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Planning and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation) (4.19): The release of the school census data this week has prompted some interesting responses from community spokespeople—including, I might add, the most interesting comment that I have seen in a while from an education spokesperson for a political party; that came from Mr Doszpot.

Mr Doszpot has reacted to the school census in a thundering media release accusing me of using the school census as a point-scoring exercise. Mr Doszpot has reacted to that census by stating that the increase in enrolments in public schools through the 2009 census is an increase of 0.001 per cent. I can advise that this is incorrect. My staff have calculated that an increase of 0.001 per cent in ACT government schools would be an increase of about one-third of a student. They were not able to calculate which third, but I am advised that for Mr Doszpot’s calculations to be correct the population of ACT government schools would need to be nearly five million students.

I am also advised that Mr Doszpot says that I closed 23 schools in 2005. Mr Doszpot, like me, was not a member of the Assembly in 2005, so—

Mr Stanhope: Would you like me to check?

MR BARR: He might care to go back and have a look at the historical records. It is incorrect. One school closed at the end of 2005, and that was Ginninderra district high

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