Page 1612 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 12 May 2015

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Mr Coe: A point of order.

MADAM SPEAKER: A point of order.

Mr Hanson: Can you stop the clock, please, Madam Speaker? I am interested in what he has to say.

MADAM SPEAKER: We can stop the clock.

Mr Coe: The supplementary that Mr Hanson asked was: what steps have you taken to address the concerns of the record depreciation in staff morale? “A record depreciation in staff morale” is a direct quote from the AEU, and we ask that the minister be relevant to that question.

MADAM SPEAKER: I ask the Chief Minister to be mindful of standing order 118(a) when answering the question.

MR BARR: Certainly an impact on staff morale is the failure of the federal government to commit to an appropriate level of funding for education in the longer term. I have absolutely no doubt, and the Leader of the Opposition knows this, about the AEU’s position in relation to long-term commitment to the Gonski funding reforms, and that is something that I will be doing to stick up for the ACT education system.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Chief Minister, what steps are you taking to address the concerns of the AEU about the utter confusion and the minister speaking in riddles?

MR BARR: The minister has been very clear in articulating the government’s position in relation to the enterprise bargaining matters that are before the union. She has been very clear in relation to the government’s position. The pay offer that the government has put forward has, in large part, been accepted by the AEU. There are some areas of disagreement that remain, and the minister and I will work through those issues appropriately with the union over time. That is how we will approach resolving the outstanding matters in relation to the EBA.

I do note that in the correspondence from the union some of the other issues that they raised go to fundamental matters of policy that, in this place, we have a near consensus view on. For example, the union are opposed to the national chaplaincy scheme and they have criticised the minister for allowing that commonwealth funding to flow through to ACT schools. I am sure that Mr Doszpot does not share that view with the Australian Education Union.

So there will be points of difference on policy between the government and the union. On those matters we do not resile from taking a different position from the union. We do believe that non-government schools should operate in the Australian Capital Territory. That is not a view that is universally held within the Australian Education Union. (Time expired.)

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