Page 160 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 28 November 2012

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I have also been a strong supporter of the quality framework. Under the new quality standards, parents can have the confidence that when they leave their child they know that they will be safe, that they will learn and that they will be cared for by committed and qualified workers. Quality in child care is crucial and the Labor government has been proud of the fact that we have good quality child care. Even you, Madam Speaker, have been on record with Ross Solly saying, “No doubt, here in the ACT we have good quality child care.”

Nevertheless, I was surprised that the Canberra Liberals failed to release a single childcare policy during the last election. There was nothing, not even the infamous well-versed and well-thought-of by the Canberra Liberals centralised bureaucratic childcare waiting list that you, Madam Speaker, when you had held that shadow portfolio, promised would be the centrepiece of Canberra Liberals’ policy.

There was not a single word about supporting Canberra families and early childhood services by the Canberra Liberals in the whole election, not a centrepiece, not even a word, not a policy. I do also note that Mrs Dunne wrote to Carers ACT a week before polling day to say that something would be released soon. They are still waiting. It is a bit like the Canberra Liberals forgetting CIT and saying that they would rally around and get that policy in. We are all still waiting for that.

MADAM SPEAKER: Relevance, Ms Burch.

MS BURCH: The relevance is lack of policy from the Canberra Liberals, Madam Speaker. We will provide funding to—

Mr Hanson: Point of order, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Hanson has a point or order. Ms Burch, could you resume your seat?

Mr Hanson: Madam Speaker, the minister is not only not being relevant to the debate and raising matters of party policy—Liberal Party policy—but she is also being repetitious in the debate. So under both standing orders, I would ask you to bring her to the point and back to the subject of the motion.

MADAM SPEAKER: The thing about repetition and being tedious is that it is a tenuous thing. We all probably fall into that from time to time. I did ask the minister to be relevant to the debate. Again, I would remind the minister that a quick comeback of a smart line is not necessarily making it relevant to the debate. I asked you to be relevant to the debate, which in this case is child care.

If you want to criticise the opposition for their childcare policy that is fine, but when you range into other policy areas, that is not fine, and I will ask you to come back to the debate. Ms Burch.

MS BURCH: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I am quite happy to talk about the Canberra Liberals’ childcare policy, but it would take a nanosecond because there is none. Mr Hanson today has indeed proved that. He asked today what we have done.

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