Page 1714 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 May 2013

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funding. The Chief Minister should not be so gleefully signing up to this. We saw this mistake made before when Kevin Rudd brought in his health reforms, which were essentially refinancing.

The ACT was the first jurisdiction to sign up. Jon Stanhope said, “We’re going to sign up,” and he had Katy Gallagher standing beside him. History repeats itself. Jon Stanhope was quoted as saying, “Let’s sign up so we can get to the bar.” Remember that one, Madam Speaker? “We’ll sign up and let’s go to the bar.” So he did not put in the rigour. He did not put in the work that needed to be done to analyse whether this was good for the ACT. He did not do the due diligence. He did not fight for the ACT. No, he wanted to appease the federal Labor government and say, “Let’s sign up to these reforms and let’s go to the bar.”

That is what we are seeing here from Minister Burch and Minister Gallagher. They are saying, “We don’t care that we’re not going to get what the ACT deserves. We don’t care that we’re going to get in relative terms less than any other jurisdiction. We don’t care that this is going to bring us back to the pack. No, we don’t. So long as it keeps Julia happy in the context of a federal election, let’s sign on.”

Mr Doszpot is right: let us ask the hard questions. Let us get the facts. Let us make sure that our children are protected in terms of their relative advantage to make sure that we get what we all want, what we should all want as members of this place. What we should want is for our students in the ACT to excel, to be at the top of the ladder, not brought back to the middle or the bottom of the ladder, which seems to be the approach from the Greens and Labor. Let us continue to fight for that. That is what Mr Doszpot is saying here today: let us get the information; let us make sure that we have the answers.

What the minister and what the Chief Minister are saying to us is, “Do you support needs-based funding?” What I do not want to see happen in this place is that the needs of New South Wales students, the needs of South Australian students, the needs of Queensland students and the needs of Tasmanian students are prioritised over the needs of ACT students. That is what is happening here. In real funding terms, that is what is going to happen. What we are gradually going to see from Gonski, I fear—if we do not get all these facts and we do not advocate—is our coming back to the pack. We are going to see ourselves get back to that average figure, because that is what you are advocating for needs-based funding across the nation with the ACT reducing its funding.

I commend Mr Doszpot’s motion. I commend his advocacy for the school system here in the ACT, both non-government and government. I urge him to continue to ask the hard questions, because we know that we are not getting the answers from this government. What we are getting is a willingness simply to sign up to what Julia Gillard wants, because that suits their Labor left agenda. (Time expired.)

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.28 to 2.30 pm.

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