Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991

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Parliamentary Record 3


Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 1 May 1991 Mr SMITH: That is right. It is a point of principle. Mr Speaker, I did not talk in a sanctimonious fashion about his strong emotional commitment to his school when he has pulled his kids out. He did that, and I think people deserve to know the true facts. Mr Hatton: I took my kids out of that particular school because of a particular teacher. Mr SMITH: Oh yes, fine. Mr SPEAKER: Order! Mr SMITH: Mr Speaker, this censure motion is not directed against the member for Nightcliff. It is pretty hard to censure people for being sanctimonious. This motion seeks to censure the Minister for Education, and for very good reason. It is about the process and the manner in which he went about the exercise of closing schools. Let me take you back to how it started, Mr Speaker. We did not have a frank and open admission from the Minister for Education that, as part of his contribution to the ERC, he was looking at closing schools. It had to be forced out of him by the member for Wanguri. It was the member for Wanguri who brought it out into the open. The Minister for Education got off on the wrong foot as a result of being forced into a position where he had to agree, after the matter became public, that he was looking at closing schools. This happened after he had already been around to 39 schools. I think that was the number he boasted of and, as far as I can see, not once in the course of visiting those 39 schools did he indicate that he was looking at closing schools. I will give an example, and I can quote this example because I happen to be the local member of parliament and I am on the Millner School Council. When he went to Millner, he did not indicate that Millner was on Geoff Spring's hit list for closure. He did not say that. He said he had just come to have a look at the facilities. He gave no indication that he was looking at closing it and, at that stage, he had no intention of establishing a task force. The fact that we had a task force - and that was half a step better than not having a task force - was due solely to the efforts of the member for Wanguri in having the matter brought into the open. No hint was given to Millner, Tiwi, Wagaman or any of the other schools that they were on the department's hit list. They were not asked for their thoughts. There was nothing from the minister. That was not a very good start, and it was in that duplicitous way that the honourable minister proceeded with the exercise all the way through. He kept on changing his stories and telling different things to different people. What he forgot was that it was a small community and he would be found out. Mr Stone: And you rely on hearsay. Mr SMITH: No, I do not rely on hearsay, Mr Speaker. Mr Stone: Then where is your information coming from? That is hearsay. 809