Page 1611 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 12 May 2015

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There is utter confusion and the minister has taken to speaking in riddles.

Chief Minister, the minister has dismissed this as the unions playing politics 101. Chief Minister, do you have confidence in Ms Burch as the ACT education minister?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Hanson for the question. Yes, Minister Burch is doing a good job as education minister.

Mr Coe: Yes or no.

MR BARR: Having had experience—

Mr Hanson: Come on; say it: yes or no.

MR BARR: Yes. Having spent nearly seven years as education minister and, I think, negotiated four EBAs with the AEU, I am familiar with the occasional use of muscular and alpha male tactics by union leaders in order to advance their case in relation to enterprise bargaining arrangements.

Opposition members interjecting—


MR BARR: This approach by the union is disappointing. However, the government remains committed to working with the union to resolve the outstanding issues, and Minister Burch and I will meet with the union in due course.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Chief Minister, what steps are you taking to address the concerns of record depreciation in staff morale?

MR BARR: I am sticking up for the ACT education system in the face of cuts from Christopher Pyne, Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott—those who would dishonour their commitments to appropriate commonwealth funding for schools in this country. I understand that one of the major areas of concern for the union, and indeed for those who support public education in this country, is the failure of the commonwealth government to commit to an appropriate level of education funding in the long term. And it is not just the ACT government that has—

Mr Hanson interjecting

MADAM SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition! I call you to order.

MR BARR: this view; this is a view shared across the political divide at a state and territory level. The commitments that were given in relation to education funding, that there would be no cuts—that famous SBS television interview on the eve of the last federal election—demonstrated—

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