Page 5476 - Week 15 - Tuesday, 8 December 2009

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The reason we are doing this—all Australian government are undertaking this reform—is simple. This information will empower parents to ask the hard questions, questions which will make teachers, principals and governments more accountable—information which will allow parents to walk into their school, sit down with their teacher and ask about how literacy and numeracy is being taught; information which will encourage students to make an appointment with the principal and ask about their results and their future careers; information which will challenge teachers to look at their teaching practices and their student results, to look at the range of diagnostic data that is available and to further improve their teaching plans.

Yes, more information means more work in the education sector. But I want to look parents in the eye and honestly say that the government is working to provide the best possible education for their son or daughter. And I know our best teachers feel the same way. So we are pressing ahead.

When these results are released early next year, there will be surprising outcomes. There will be schools that everyone expects to do well who are, frankly, cruising. And there will be schools that everyone expects to do badly who actually are making a significant difference where it is needed most.

I have said before, many times in this place, that the so-called league tables debate, both for them and against them, is a distraction. I know some people are concerned about how the media will report these results. But let me put on the record that I have great confidence in the professionalism and responsibility of Canberra’s journalists, editors and news producers. I am sure that the media will meet their obligations to report with integrity and accuracy, that they will tell the full story about our schools and that they will report the context and the achievements of our schools.

That is why the ACT government is pressing ahead with these reforms. Parents want them, students need them and schools will benefit from them. I look forward to a well-informed public debate in 2010.


MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (3.3): I rise this afternoon to reflect briefly upon the arts scene in Canberra. I have the pleasure and privilege of being the Greens’ arts spokesperson. Partly as a result of that but also, I guess, as a result of what I do normally in my life, I have been able to partake of a lot of art this year. My partner and I did make the decision at the beginning of the year that we would not, as we had in other years, have a subscription to the Canberra Theatre because we thought that we may not quite have time to go to enough stuff in the Canberra Theatre, and you could regard that as either fortunate or unfortunate. It was the right decision because there is so much happening in the Canberra arts scene.

I am not going to bore everyone by going through a list of all the things I have been to over the last year. I have expanded my horizons. Specifically I would like to mention the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, which I spoke about in the last sitting period.

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