Page 2678 - Week 07 - Thursday, 2 August 2018

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significance of the new reconciliation garden in their school. I was invited to paint a rock for placement in the garden, and much fun and ribbing was had at the guests’ ability to paint without getting it everywhere but on the rock. I did have to maintain that it was a particular challenge trying to stop my hair flying into all the paint. All too soon it was time to go. A special thank you to principal Smith and her staff, especially the wonderfully energetic Mel Stratford, who sought me out on Twitter to invite me to join them for this special event.

The next school visit I will talk about tonight was to St Clare’s College at Griffith. St Clare’s is a senior school, so years 7 to 12, for girls. It has a long history, being established on its current site in 1965 as the Catholic Girls’ High School Griffith. Enrolment on opening day consisted of 183 girls in years 7 and 8, taught by eight sisters. The school officially became St Clare’s in 1980, being named after two significant women: St Clare of Assisi, who was considered to represent an ideal of womanhood; and Sister Clare Slattery, the founding principal of the college.

Today the school is headed by principal Mr Brad Cooney and in recent years has had a significant rise in enrolments from across all of Canberra and close interstate areas. Students are offered the opportunity to study a wide variety of subjects, including a strong focus on engineering, metal fabrication and car mechanics, as well as the more traditional standard subjects and co-curricular courses like drama, music and art. The school has an impressive success rate of students going on to university, with 85 per cent gaining entry. The school also has a strong emphasis on community and volunteer service and a growing reputation for involvement in community groups.

I thank Mr Cooney for his time and openness in talking to me about the particular rewards and challenges of leading an all-girls school, the enormous responsibility today’s teachers have in dealing with more than just teaching a silo academic subject, and the tremendous support the school has from his students, parents and teachers.

Once again, this visit confirmed what I quickly realised in starting these school visits: that Canberra is very proud of our educational standards and choice. I continue to be impressed with what our parents have to choose from in our region. Parental choice, as I mentioned earlier in the matter of public importance discussion, is critical to a positive, quality education for every child entering school. The two schools I have mentioned tonight demonstrate only some of the wide choice available in Canberra.

Federal government—territory rights

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (5.11): This is the last opportunity I have to speak in this place on territory rights before the Senate continues to debate, and potentially votes on, the Leyonhjelm bill to overturn the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997. I want to put on the record, for the purposes of this place and also federal parliament, my views.

It is just not right that the act exists. It was not right in 1997 and it is not right in 2018. Canberra citizens should not be second class simply because we live in a territory rather than a state. We are a mature jurisdiction and we should have the right to debate and decide for ourselves if we want laws on voluntary assisted dying. We should not have such an important issue decided for us by an entirely different

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