Page 5858 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 7 December 2011

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will jeopardise the insurance of most effective support provision of ESL in schools as well as ongoing ESL teacher development.

The other group that has a very high interest in this is the Canberra Multicultural Community Forum that I think Ms Burch might know about. It is in her portfolio. The CMCF call on you, as minister for education, Mr Barr, and Treasurer to ensure that funding to the ETD enables both the ESL executive positions to be retained and that the English language proficiency level that attracts ESL support be raised to a level that more realistically reflects the level of need identified in government school classrooms, particularly among newly arrived refugees and immigrants.

You may well laugh, Dr Bourke, just like Ms Burch laughed when I raised this issue at another forum. You may well laugh. And it really highlights—

Ms Burch: Mr Assistant Speaker, can you ask Mr Doszpot to address his comments through you and not directly to us across the floor?

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Thank you very much, minister. Mr Doszpot, I have asked you before to address your remarks through the chair. And I would ask you to again.

MR DOSZPOT: Mr Assistant Speaker, I am profoundly sorry, but it obviously hurts Dr Bourke—

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Sorry about this, Mr Doszpot, but I am not interested in acts of contrition. I just want you to address your remarks through the chair, please.

MR DOSZPOT: I am doing that as I speak.


MR DOSZPOT: I am very interested to see that Dr Bourke cannot even bear to be talked to directly on this. I take your point that I have got to talk through you, Mr Assistant Speaker, but Dr Bourke has a very interesting situation to contend with. Every single organisation that has an interest in ESL has recommended the position be retained. But the Greens and Dr Bourke and the former minister for education, Andrew Barr, seem to know better than all of the people who are involved at the coalface.

I am just wondering what sort of consultation process has taken place to come to the conclusion that has been presented here to us this afternoon. We have talked at length about the reason for retaining this position. To make this an even more profound contradiction that Dr Bourke has presented to us here, I read from a press release that was put out this afternoon related to this matter. The minister’s press release bald-facedly states:

Minister for Education, Dr Chris Bourke, has today slammed the ACT Liberals for moving a motion aimed at moving resources from the frontline and putting them back in the directorate. What Mr Doszpot is talking about here is removing a frontline ESL teacher from assisting those students who need help to improve their English language skills the most.

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