Page 3764 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 26 August 2009

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individuals have expressed a desire for more to be done. I encourage the Chief Minister to look at what is being done in other jurisdictions. You can go as far as their websites to identify a number of programs that they have in place.

In closing, I would like to again recognise the important role played by defence members and their families, by ex-service personnel, by veterans and by the ex-service organisations here in the ACT that make such a wonderful contribution to our community.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Schools—restorative justice

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (6.37): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) recognises restorative justice as a viable alternative to traditional responses to various forms of disruptive behaviour in ACT schools; and

(2) encourages the ACT Government to consider expanding the opportunities for current and future ACT school teachers to study restorative justice theory and practice.

It gives me great pleasure to have the opportunity to speak on this most critical issue. I think we all agree that it is important for schools in the ACT to provide an environment in which our young people feel secure, and one which is conducive to young people reaching their full potential. Like any part of a society, the destructive behaviour of individuals can interfere with the common learning environment. This government has worked closely with schools to address these problems. We on this side of the house have also been working to develop more positive, progressive, compassionate models to deal with behavioural issues that occur in school settings and other settings which involve young people, such as the justice system.

I would like to say how disappointed I am that some members of this place have approached this issue in a very negative way, indulging in exaggeration and hearsay in an attempt to win political points. The negative perception engendered by this negative publicity can undermine confidence in schools. It also affects teacher and staff morale and causes our young people a lot of angst.

On this side of the house, we are in the business of addressing problems by proposing positive solutions and addressing the age-old problem of disruptive behaviour in schools. We are not confined to a historical paradigm, but continue to look for new, effective methods that build on the good work already going on in our ACT schools.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.” Restorative justice fosters a sense of responsibility on the part of the person who has

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