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 Stone: What did it matter? It was not closed. Mr SMITH: You gave them a commitment, right through that process, when they were fighting for their very lives, that at least they could fight on an even playing field by having that relevant information, and you did not give them the information. Mr Stone: Are you complaining because I did not close it? Mr SMITH: You did not provide the information. Mr Stone: It is not being closed. Mr Ede: Give it to them, right! Mr Stone: Why? Mr SMITH: That is just 1 example. Another example was a very clear commitment by the honourable minister that there would be a process over at least 3 to 5 weeks during which the question of school closures would be argued out. That was given on the Tuesday and the Wednesday and, on the Friday, the school council was told it had to report to the task force the following Monday. So much for the process followed by the Minister for Education right throughout this exerci se. I want to put it on record that I congratulate the Millner Primary School Council for the way that it performed in this exercise, against overwhelming odds, against a minister who made promises and did not carry them out and against a department which, for some strange reason, had decided without any evidence at all that it would close Millner Primary School. Mr Stone: And won on the merits. Mr SMITH: If it could win on its merits before an independent task force, why did the Department of Education slot it in the first place? If the merits were clear to the task force after a 2-hour meeting and a process that took one week with its limited resources, why did the department slot it in the first place? I will tell you why, Mr Speaker. Because the Secretary of the Department of the Education is either a paid up member of the Country Liberal Party or, if he is not, he hands out how-to-vote cards for the Country Liberal Party on election day and goes to Country Liberal Party election victory celebrations. Frankly, I think that is disgusting. When there is a Labor government in the Northern Territory, and if I have something to do with it, any departmental head who has any political affiliation whatsoever will be out. You cannot have a situation where a permanent head of a department is an active party member or supporter like that person is because it can sway the person's judgment. If you want an example of how active membership of a political party sways a person's judgment, Mr Speaker, you can look at the case of Millner Primary School. How can a task force, after a 2-hour meeting, come to an objective assessment that Millner Primary School should remain when the Department of Education, with all its resources, has said that it should close? Mr Hatton: It proves that it was independent. 811

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