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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 February 2015) . . Page.. 404 ..


MADAM SPEAKER: Order, Mr Hanson!

MS BURCH: young people. What you are doing here—and Mr Hanson can dress it up any which way he likes—is an attack on me, and this is an attack on my son, on my family. You should be ashamed of what you are doing. He is a good young man. Make no mistake that he was troubled and it was a serious and offensive act. He is now a young man who, through the support of Menslink, has changed his life around. I will not have you, Mr Hanson, drag him down into the gutter again.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Wall.

MR WALL: Minister, does the Department of Education and Training have any policies or procedures in place in order to contact the parents or guardians of students who attended the schools where these breaches occurred?

MS BURCH: Again I refer you to the letter from the chair of Menslink where they self-disclosed this. They made contact with the ORS. They made contact with the parents. I hope that when every one of the Canberra Liberals goes home tonight and pats themselves on the back for the good work they have done today, they reflect on what they have actually done today. What you have done is to bring Menslink into disrepute. Give me a venomous attack; so be it. But you have dragged my son down again—a young man that could not get any lower. He has changed himself around. Each one of you has given him a good old kick into the gutter.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, could you remind members of the Assembly opposite what are the requirements for volunteers to register when they engage in a regulated activity such as visiting a school?

MS BURCH: I thank Dr Bourke for his interest. The working with vulnerable people check is quite clear in that it does allow people with an interest to participate in a regulated activity on a number of occasions, or a number of days, as it is referred to in the act. This breach was that my son had 10 when the guidelines allow for seven in any one year. So Mrs Jones can nod, but that is what it is. And schools and organisations are well aware of this.

We are transitioning the working with vulnerable people checks in over time—children first, then disability, and the very fraught sector of drug and alcohol support at the very end. And we will do a review of the working with vulnerable people check.

Heaven forbid that a volunteer, who could have a history of drug and alcohol abuse, courtesy of the Canberra Liberals over there will not want to put their hand up to help anybody. Because you, collectively, get them, drag them down and will never, ever allow them to improve themselves. Shame!

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth.


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