Page 3142 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 16 September 2015

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We get the standard sort of government response—hold an inquiry, hold a review, announce a panel, appoint a director, walk on and forget. “Oh, and by the way, we’ll make public the report on what we’ve done afterwards, but we won’t make public the report that told us what happened.” We saw the same with the ambulance review and some of the reviews of the ESA—significant reports about a toxic culture that the minister simply refused to make public and then said, “Trust me. I’ve got a strategic framework in place. I’ll fix it.” But unless you know what you are fixing, you can have absolutely no faith in what is going on.

We heard yesterday from the minister’s answer that the principal’s intention was good in what she was trying to do. If this is a process where the intent was good but the outcome was flawed, what went wrong? We do not know, because the minister will not tell us. When you get down to the sanitised version of events in the four-page document, it is an insult to the people of the ACT and to all the teachers because it leaves lingering doubt everywhere.

This notion that the rogue principal, the lone principal, acted on their own is just not credible. Does the principal have the credit card? Can the principal spend school money on the credit card without any policies around it? Perhaps you could table the policy for the use of government credit cards by principals, minister, so that we could find out whether that was adhered to. The vice principal did not know that $5,000 was being spent. The teacher of the child did not know. I assume the school has a facilities manager, like most schools do. They did not know. The finance officer, who would normally approve such a thing, did not know. Nobody knew.

10 March was a Tuesday. Nobody saw this coming into the classroom. Nobody saw it magically appear and nobody asked a single question. The principal did it. The principal did it all. It does not match any standard and it beggars belief that we are expected to swallow this, guv.

Mr Doszpot has followed this very closely. He is concerned with these issues, and he has a great and deep understanding of these issues. He is to be complimented on that. He says there are dates missing in the time line. How can you trust the time line when key dates do not even appear? We are being given a sanitised story with the constant assertion that it was just the principal. This is about protecting the reputation and the career of the minister.

What do we know? We do not know what was investigated because we are not allowed to see the terms of reference. Take the names out of the terms of reference. Why can you not release that document? It beggars belief.

At 6 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.

MR SMYTH: Who conducted the investigation? What harm is there in knowing the qualifications and skills of the individual who conducted the investigation? It is not the Spanish Inquisition. It is not somebody dragged off to a star chamber, surely?

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