Page 5044 - Week 13 - Thursday, 29 November 2018

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ACT government, reflecting on the nearly 1,000 signatures and, hopefully, coming to a more harmonious outcome.

MS LEE (Kurrajong) (10.05), by leave: The petition that Ms Le Couteur has presented just now creates a bit of a dilemma for me. I cannot decide whether Ms Le Couteur has absolutely no understanding of the extent of her hypocrisy in presenting this, or whether she believes that those who signed the petition are not going to be able to work out that when I brought a motion to this Assembly in September specifically calling on the government to do exactly what this petition is calling for—that is, to restore funding for the H music course to ensure that it can continue beyond 2019—she voted against it.

The Labor Party voted against it; the Greens voted against it; and Ms Le Couteur was the spokeswoman who stood up in this very chamber and tried to justify why she was voting against exactly what she is now bringing to the Assembly. Either way, it shows absolute gall on her behalf that she appears to have no shame at all in bringing this petition to the Assembly.

The petition is one that has raised deep passion among our upcoming music students and their families because it has cut off a planned, high-level tuition opportunity—an opportunity that these students would not otherwise have. If equity is supposed to be the hallmark of the current education minister, nothing smacks less of equity than taking away this opportunity for students who otherwise could not afford it to have access to international-standard music tuition.

The decision, for whatever reason it was taken, is unfair, and it is not enough for this government to point fingers elsewhere. The Education Directorate could have picked it up. They could have looked for other lesson delivery pathways and explored options to work with other world-leading institutions, but they have done none of this, and the proud record of achievement that the H course in music has delivered for our music students and for our community over the last 35 years will no longer be available.

Shame on this government; shame on the Greens for allowing this to happen; and shame on Ms Le Couteur for talking the talk, and continuing to talk the talk, but failing to walk the walk when it really mattered, when it actually counted, when she is the one that could and should have made all the difference.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (10.08), by leave: In question on notice No 2024 I asked some questions of the Minister for the Arts and Cultural Events about the government’s decision to defund the music engagement program run out of the ANU. I asked him whether he was aware of the aims of the program and to what extent the program failed to meet artsACT’s and the government’s aim “to recognise the integral part that arts and culture play in our community and to encourage creativity, celebration, thinking and exchange”.

In his answer, the minister said that the government was aware of the program’s aims but that they were done “through a focus on children in the school environment”. In the next sentence the minister said “the ACT arts policy is a whole of government policy intended to be achieved across all ACT government agencies”. Unless I am

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