Page 5856 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 7 December 2011

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We wish to express our concern that the ETD is planning to cut one of the two ESL executive officer positions at the end of 2011.

They go on to say:

Both these officers are invaluable in providing a wide range of specialist ESL professional development to the entire EDT workforce.

Rather than being invaluable, what Dr Bourke is saying is that these people are disposable. These two officers are disposable. He is, in effect, condemning them. He is saying, “You have not lived up to expectations and because of that, we are going to get rid of one of you.” It is pretty heartless and it is a real insult to the 4,900 students, their parents, their friends and their teachers who are committed to ensuring that they have the best opportunities possible. But that will not be so because of Dr Bourke and, indeed, because of the Greens’ lack of support for Mr Doszpot’s motion.

Mr Doszpot’s motion calls on the ACT government to retain existing staff. Ms Hunter’s amendment explicitly removes that section of the motion. Let us be crystal clear about this. Ms Hunter and the Greens have said they do not want to retain the existing staff. Anybody reading this debate, the ETD listening to this, a school or a parent or perhaps a student of ESL themselves should be crystal clear in knowing that Labor and the Greens are cutting support to the ESL scheme and they do not want to retain existing staff. That is what they are going to vote for. That is exactly what they are going to vote for.

Mr Doszpot is here sticking up for those teachers, sticking up for the 4,900 students, sticking up for their parents, sticking up for their other family members, sticking up for the teachers. And what do Dr Bourke and his Labor colleagues and the Greens do? Absolutely nothing. They shun that community. It is extremely disappointing. Indeed, I commend Mr Doszpot for bringing up this motion today and for his ongoing support for all students in the ACT, all teachers and all staff for whom English as a second language is a priority.

Ms Hunter’s amendment agreed to.

Question put:

That Dr Bourke’s amendment, as amended, be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 11

Noes 5

Mr Barr

Mr Hargreaves

Mr Coe

Mr Smyth

Dr Bourke

Ms Hunter

Mr Doszpot

Ms Bresnan

Ms Le Couteur

Mr Hanson

Ms Burch

Ms Porter

Mr Seselja

Mr Corbell

Mr Rattenbury

Ms Gallagher

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

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