Page 3802 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 19 September 2018

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Make no mistake, Madam Assistant Speaker, Ms Le Couteur is just as much a part of this ACT government as any member of the ACT Labor backbench. You only have to point to her PR exercise in spruiking about the government-funded music programs in the entirety of her speech that have nothing to do with the H course

In going through her amendment, I have no objections to paragraphs (1)(a) (d), (e) and (f). Why would I? They are the same as the Canberra Liberals’ motion. However, I am concerned at the nuance in paragraph (1)(g), which clearly indicates that there is no desire to provide any guarantee to students undertaking H courses in advanced Japanese, astrophysics, biodiversity, chemistry, continuing Chinese, continuing Japanese, discovering engineering, performing Indonesian and specialist mathematics. Of course, there is the usual get-out-of-jail clause: it’s not us; it’s the ANU.

I am not here to defend the ANU, but the ACT government should acknowledge that ACT students will miss out. The ACT will be deprived of promising musicians and ultimately the ACT will be robbed of a strong, vibrant music scene.

Ms Le Couteur’s paragraph (2) calls on the government to continue to support ANU’s school of music’s provision of outreach to the students of Canberra, including high performing music students, and refers to a deed grant of $120,000. You either support the funding to continue the H course or you do not. $120,000 out of a course that costs $275,000 is not going to get very far. Ms Le Couteur pointed out in her speech that she had changed the “calls-upon” paragraph only in wording, why would you not use the unambiguous calls in my motion instead of rewriting it?

Nothing in this amendment provides any assurance to students in year 11 2019 and onwards that the music course will continue. And on that basis the Canberra Liberals will not and cannot support the amendments offered.

Going to the contribution made by Mr Ramsay, aside from talking a lot about music that had nothing to do with the H course, the only good thing that came out of Mr Ramsay’s contribution was that he was able to provide at least some assurance that no other H courses will be cut, and the Canberra Liberals will be keeping an eye on that.

Lest there be any confusion for people following this debate, ACT Labor and the ACT Greens are not prepared to fight for the H music course. I thank those with a passionate interest in H courses continuing—some of who were in our gallery earlier today—because they know what a difference this course has made to them, their children and their friends.

Indeed, a former student of the H course in music for classical piano has nothing but positive memories of the program. Her musical education has taken her very far. She is a performer, a composer and now also operates a music teaching school. From composing pieces for films and other major events, she has also won national and international competitions. She says that without access to the internationally acclaimed tutors the H course provided she would not have been able to afford to

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