Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 2 August 2018) . . Page.. 2651 ..
improvements to service delivery and policy development which will lead to better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
I look forward to continuing the positive partnership with the elected body to address the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans and to build on the strengths of the community to reduce and overcome Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage.
Choice in education
Discussion of matter of public importance
MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ms Cody): Madam Speaker has received letters from Miss C Burch, Ms Cheyne, Ms Cody, Mrs Dunne, Mrs Kikkert, Ms Lee, Ms Orr, Mr Parton, and Mr Steel proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, Madam Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Ms Lee be submitted to the Assembly, namely:
The importance of all parents having an informed choice in determining their children’s education.
MS LEE (Kurrajong) (3.43): I welcome this opportunity to speak about a subject close to the Canberra Liberals: the important and unassailable right of every parent to choose the schooling that best suits their child.
Parental choice is not a novel or unique concept. Indeed a parent’s right to choose the kind of education to be given to their children is included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which commits its signatories to having—and I quote:
… respect for the liberty of parents … to choose for their children schools, other than those established by public authorities … to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.
In Australia successive federal governments have supported that right through public funding to non-government schools to deliver at least a basic level of resources to ensure that parents have a choice in the type of education that best fits their child’s needs. As the association of independent schools council says on its webpage in an article on parents and school choice:
School choice policies underpin pluralism in society. They allow families with different ethnic, religious and cultural identities to choose a school to best meet the needs of their child and their own values, within a frame of common social values.
If you asked a cross-section of parents what they would wish for in their child’s education, they would most likely say, in general terms, that they want a school that helps their child to maximise their full potential and that instils in them a lifelong love of learning and an ability to think independently, and a respect for themselves and others. That is also reflected in the ACT Education Act. It supports a child’s