Page 4912 - Week 13 - Thursday, 12 November 2009

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order 169. This, too, requires me under standing order 170 to rule the bill out of order and order that it be withdrawn from the notice paper.

Standing and temporary orders—suspension

MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (10:04): I move:

That so much of standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent the Education Amendment Bill (No 2) being restored to the Notice Paper and that consideration on the bill resumed at the stage reached.

There is a strong case to suspend standing orders today and there is a strong case to debate the issue of suspensions again in this place. The Education Amendment Bill (No 2) will provide important powers for principals and these powers should be in place by the start of the 2010 school year. The minister did not provide a good enough reason not to support the amendments that the opposition put forward to his original bill when the issue was originally debated.

The government must vote to suspend standing orders so that we can at least have the debate again based on the new bill. Other than being bloody minded and stubborn, there is no logical reason for the government to prevent this new and improved bill from being debated and no logical reason not to support the suspension of standing orders in order that we may do just that.

The bill we will debate, should standing orders be suspended, is in essence the minister’s work. We acknowledge that. The bill took the elements of the minister’s bill and all the hard work of the department and combined it with a compromise. It is a compromise that allows more autonomy and provides intra and inter-jurisdiction parity for ACT school principals with their counterparts in other states. Why would the minister not want the opportunity to see the work of his department and the will of the principals of ACT schools come to fruition? Why would the government not suspend standing orders today to do this?

The opposition and the government fundamentally agree on the basic premise of the bill. But, unfortunately, during the previous debate on this issue, the minister let politics get in the way and refused to compromise. I and the opposition have provided an opportunity this week for the government to reassess their position and, in doing so we, together, can provide our ACT school principals with the autonomy and the power to make decisions. Standing orders can and should be suspended to do this.

The education minister, Andrew Barr, indicated even before he had looked at our new bill that he will refuse to consider giving school principals stronger suspension powers and telegraphed his intention to use standing orders to block this legislation. This attitude does not and will not change anything for the principals of the school communities of the ACT.

We have listened to the key stakeholders and included recommendations through guidelines such as when suspensions are sanctioned for a significant length of time they should be accompanied by guidelines that provide support for both the student

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