Page 2969 - Week 08 - Thursday, 25 June 2009
will take some advice on it. In the context of why we have collocated or why we have located at Mitchell and Mugga, it was essentially around economies. To the extent that there are some goods that might be more appropriately disposed of and there were, without any significant resource implications, other places to dispose of them, then I am happy to look at that. I will look at it and I will certainly give you the advice, Ms Le Couteur.
MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the minister for education, Mr Barr. Minister, many parents of children that attend Kingsford Smith school are concerned at the lack of clear, school-specific policy to counteract bullying at the school. In question time on 17 June you said:
There is a policy in place for all ACT public schools, and it has been in place for some time now.
In relation to this, can you advise how many times the behaviour management team have visited Kingsford Smith school this term?
MR BARR: It will not come as any surprise to members that that piece of information is not one I carry around with me in my head. I will seek advice from the department on the number of times that that team has visited that school and I will get back to the member.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot, a supplementary?
MR DOSZPOT: Minister, with the number of calls that that school has required, I am surprised you do not know. And why has there been such reluctance on the part of your government, minister, to address bullying at the Kingsford Smith school?
MR BARR: There has been no reluctance on the part of the government to address bullying at Kingsford Smith or at any school in the territory. In fact, I believe the next step in terms of expanding the scope of the Safe Schools Taskforce is to invite and to seek the interest from non-government schools in being involved in that task force. I think that would be appropriate, as it is clear from police reports and from media reports that bullying is not isolated to government schools; it occurs across all schools. In fact, it occurs in all areas of our society.
What disappoints me the most in relation to the line of questioning from the shadow minister is that somehow this school or the government education system is responsible for bullying. That is a very unfortunate undercurrent in what has been a pretty consistent line of attack from the opposition on the public education system. It goes back to Mr Doszpot’s predecessor, Mr Pratt, who was one who believed we should have police in our school playgrounds. That was the policy approach that was adopted by the Liberals. They may have replaced their Steves, but they appear not to have replaced their Neanderthal thinking on this matter.