Page 1099 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Dr Bourke): Order, Mr Doszpot!

MR BARR: and are prepared to back that vision with legislative action that is being opposed consistently by those opposite.

Mr Doszpot interjecting


MR BARR: What we have seen throughout this debate, going back over years, is a litany of complaints from those opposite. There is never a solution, an alternative position or any serious engagement in the wide range of deep and longstanding issues that need to be resolved and worked through. The one thing I was pleased about in Mr Doszpot’s contribution—a nasty contribution though it was, with personal attacks that were entirely unnecessary—was that it did highlight an extensive process of engagement and an exploration of a variety of different models and issues, and outlined how extensive consultation has been over a number of years on this important agenda for the city.

What has been consistent throughout this process is the negativity of those opposite. In particular, the shadow minister has never positively engaged in this debate. All that we get time after time is a repetition of the same complaints, with no substantive—

Mr Doszpot interjecting

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Order, members! Stop the clock. Sit down, Mr Barr, please. Mr Doszpot, you are persistently interrupting the speaker with interjections. That is disorderly. Mr Barr.

MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker. So what we have had is no substantive engagement in the big issues that matter for the future of higher education in this city.

There is a very clear contrast in the approach of this side seeking to test new ideas, to engage with stakeholders and to move the sector forward. Yes, there have been a variety of options that have been put forward and have come out of the various consultation processes that have been explored. Not all of them have been pursued, not all of them have been unanimously supported, but at least the ideas have been coming forward, which is in stark contrast to the complete absence of any original thought from what we have had opposite for years. It is not as if the shadow minister has not had time in that portfolio to think about some alternatives, to put forward a vision, an alternative vision. But no; it is much safer and easier just to criticise those who do try to put forward new ideas and a new way forward and ways to improve and enhance higher education in this city.

What we have had over the course of this year in the debate so far is ministers and government members speaking, articulating ideas and looking to advance an agenda for reform, to enhance education in this city, to attract new students, new researchers, new investment into our higher education sector.

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