Page 1094 - Week 03 - Thursday, 22 March 2012

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Incidents of this nature require a level of maturity on behalf of all people involved in them, particularly all members of this Assembly who, as leaders in this community, have an obligation to provide the community with the best information and the best decision making. That is why it is important that any confusion be cleared up and any further manipulation and allegations of conspiracy put to rest.

My interest has been in the way that the Education and Training Directorate have handled this incident and in their follow-up care—through extensive counselling and meetings with parents and students and the use of restorative justice practices—for all those involved.

MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (10.07), by leave: Mr Speaker, I am very pleased to hear the minister stand up and clarify some issues which we have been trying to clarify through question time for the last two days. The minister’s clarification this morning, like his clarification on another matter yesterday, even leads to more questions. To answer his secondary statements first off, at no stage have I ever sought to bring the privacy of the issue at stake here into the public arena. What I have been questioning all along has been this minister’s conduct in relation to understanding the handling of this matter.

On 14 February the police were called to an issue and, as the minister has told us, on 23 February the matter was concluded. I was given a briefing to this effect on 7 March by the minister’s department and by the minister’s office. So I was certainly made aware of that. I understood when the police inquiry had concluded. However, when the minister was interviewed the next day on radio, which he referred to, on 8 March—he has now apologised for using the wrong tense—he did not clear up during the interview at any stage if he was aware that the police matter had been concluded. It was a very ambiguous way that he left that interview.

In the last two days of question time the same ambiguity remained. He kept telling us that if we want to find out when the police inquiry concluded—which is not an unreasonable question we were asking and it was not anything to do with the privacy of the individual student or whichever school we are talking about. We are simply asking for the minister’s understanding of his own department. Even yesterday, as late as yesterday, this minister was telling us that if we wanted to find out when the matter concluded, speak to the police minister.

I do not need to speak to the police minister. You are the education minister. I asked you the questions in question time and you still obfuscated as late as yesterday. I stand by what we have been trying to do, minister. It is simply trying to make sure that the community has a minister that is looking after the community’s needs.

With the view that you are absolutely satisfied with your department’s work, and I am glad to hear you say that, I would like to know why, if you are so satisfied, you still called for a risk assessment a week later after this matter occurred. There are still issues with regard to the risk assessment and what the terms of reference for that risk assessment were.

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