Page 4577 - Week 12 - Thursday, 15 October 2009

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MR BARR: Depending on the severity of the suspension, there are different levels of programs that are brought into place. If of course the student is suspended for less than five days, under the current legislation it is the responsibility of the school principal, working with a range of support programs that I identified in response to Ms Hunter’s supplementary question, working with other student behaviour management teams in the public education system, to provide a range of supports for students who have been suspended to assist with their re-entry to school.

I think it is worth noting, and we did discuss this at some length in a debate earlier in the week, that counselling is one important element but it is not the only element in responding to these circumstances at an individual school level.

When matters go beyond the current five-day period, the chief executive of the education department becomes involved, in the case of public schools, and a range of other support mechanisms can be brought into place. In some instances, this could involve mental health counselling, or it could involve non-government support agencies working with the family of the student concerned.

We need to ensure there is a wide-ranging response from the education department, from other government agencies and also where appropriate from non-government organisations on a case by case basis to work with students who are exhibiting poor behaviour at school. It is important that we have that flexibility, and it is disappointing that we were not able to reach agreement in the Assembly this week. As I have indicated, I do believe this matter needs to be revisited but I can assure the Assembly that we will not be entering into some sort of redneck law and order option with the Liberal Party, and we dismiss their approach on this matter.

Hospitals—Calvary Public Hospital

MR COE: My question is to the health minister. I refer to comments you made yesterday in the Assembly regarding the potential purchase of Calvary hospital. You said:

… Little Company of Mary are a willing participant in this discussion …


LCM are wanting to sell the hospital.

Minister, today’s Canberra Times reports that the government had indicated that the government would build a third public hospital if negotiations to buy Calvary hospital from the company collapsed. Mr Brennan of the Little Company of Mary goes on to say:

That would mean Calvary Public Hospital would cease to be funded by this Government.

He also indicates that such a decision by your government would result in the collapse of both private and public hospitals in the north. Minister, how can the Little Company of Mary be genuinely willing participants when you hold the threat of imminent closure over their heads?

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