Page 3953 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 30 October 2013
bring to our community cannot be understated. I hope that, with the honest intent of providing collaboration and an approach of exploring opportunities for all people in our community regarding the best way of delivering services, this amendment is endorsed and agreed to by all in this place.
MADAM SPEAKER: Before I call the next speaker, Minister Burch, about halfway through your comments you said words to the effect that Mr Doszpot had misrepresented the situation. There is lots of precedent for ruling that “misrepresented” is unparliamentary, going back to 2004, and I would ask you to withdraw.
Ms Burch: I will withdraw.
MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you. The problem is that by saying someone misrepresents the situation there is an implication that they are not being truthful. That is the basis on which it is unparliamentary.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (10.27): It is with some mixed feelings that I speak to this motion this morning; not because of the merits of the issue, which are indeed worthy, but because of the way Mr Doszpot is pursuing this cause. This is the second motion Mr Doszpot has debated this year on the issue of an autism-specific school and the third time we have risen to debate this issue. The reason for my slight disappointment and mixed feelings is that Mr Doszpot has done nothing between these two motions to advance the cause that he is supporting, despite my personal comments last time that I am generally interested in the model being proposed and would welcome further discussion.
So I am slightly anxious that this proposal may find it difficult to proceed unless there is some effort to have meaningful conversations outside the Assembly debates. But my understanding is that so far these have not progressed. I assume that Mr Doszpot would be keen to see those conversations happen and would be advocating on behalf of the proponents and the parents of children with autism spectrum disorder not only inside this chamber but outside the chamber. But to date that has not happened. Indeed, the correspondence I received from AEIOU is the first that I have received for quite some time, and I shall return to some of the issues it raises shortly.
Aside from the politics of the issue, the merits of the issue are interesting. The nature of autism spectrum disorder is such that children respond well to early intervention environments that provide a consistent, routine-based and visually supported environment for them. Such environments can assist with reducing anxiety and associated behaviours such as rituals, obsession and sensory issues and thereby assist with improving communication skills and other educational outcomes.
These children often have challenging behaviours for parents to manage: poor play skills, poor social skills, obsession with objects or routines and aversions to particular textures or tastes of food that make meal times difficult—observations I noted last time we had this discussion. Their anxiety about these things and their responses to things they see and hear in the world around them can be difficult for parents to manage: screaming, distress, shutting down or more self-comforting behaviour such