Page 4781 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 11 November 2009

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Schools are charged with the task of teaching those who wish to learn and rehabilitating those who disrupt.

The desire for longer suspensions reflects the frustration, felt in many schools, that the time and energy required to attempt to rehabilitate a relatively small number of recalcitrant students is presently done at the expense of the ability of teachers to meet the educational and social needs of the majority of students.

A public debate about how to achieve an acceptable balance between these expectations is overdue.

That was from Mr Schwarzer of Turner.

The question is: should our principals have the autonomy and the ability to determine appropriate actions for students in their own schools? The answer is yes, they should, and my colleagues in the opposition and I stand here today ready to champion this right.

I commend this bill to the Assembly and encourage the government to reconsider its previous position and vote to give parity to ACT principals both within our own ACT education sector and across most Australian jurisdictions. I also encourage the ACT Greens to reconsider their position and listen to what the principals and educators are telling them, that this is not about whether a child should be suspended at all; it is about trusting the judgement of our principals and ensuring that they have every possible opportunity to address issues as they arise in their schools.

Debate (on motion by Mr Barr) adjourned to the next sitting.

Civil Partnerships Amendment Bill 2009

Debate resumed from 26 August 2009, on motion by Mr Rattenbury:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.17): The Labor government will stand firm today on its commitment to the removal of discrimination against gay and lesbian people in our community and will be supporting this bill. I will be moving some small yet significant and supportive amendments to the bill which I will deal with in some detail later in my speech.

Most members will be aware that the government’s record on same-sex relationships and on removing discrimination against same-sex relationships is a strong one and that this bill which we are debating today contains the same provisions that were in place in the government’s 2006 bill, which was threatened on a number of occasions with disallowance by the commonwealth. The ACT agreed to a compromise on that occasion to allow same-sex couples to register their relationships and to have an optional ceremony that would, sadly, have no legal recognition. This compromise was

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