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 Hr SMITH: It proves that the task force was independent and that the Department of Education was not. The Minister for Education has handled this process very badly Indeed. School closures require sensitive and careful handling. They require a commitment from the government that it will go through the processes and that it will consult properly. As I said to the Rapid Creek school community, the major problem was that it had not been properly consulted and still has not. Obviously, it will never be consulted properly. It is always a difficult exercise and it has not been made any easier by the minister proceeding in his jack-booted way, as he has throughout the whole process, upsetting school communities and upsetting children. It might surprise the minister to know that many parents at Rapid Creek have had to comfort kids who have come home crying that the government is closing their school. This has had a major impact on the lives of up to 1000 kids and their parents right across the Northern Territory. There has been no recognition of that whatsoever. He has forgotten the human element in all of this. The reason simply is that he has been forced into this exercise by the fact that the government has had to save money. We can forget everything else. We can forget all the educational arguments that are advanced from time to time. It has been a simple panic-driven, money-saving exercise brought about by 5 or 6 years of government inactivity, staring into the face of disaster and failing to do anything about it. Once again, it is the people at the bottom, the ordinary parents who send their kids to an ordinary government school, who have suffered. This motion seeks to censure the Minister for Education for the clumsy manner in which he has gone about that exercise and the hurt and the distress that he has caused to people. Let me give another example of how clumsy this exercise has been. Mr Speaker, if you were a teacher at Tiwi or Rapid Creek Primary School or at one of those other schools when the decision was taken, you would feel some responsibility for the closure. In particular, the teachers at Rapid Creek Primary School felt very badly They felt that they had failed the school. However, no one came to see them for at least a week after the decision was taken. Hr Stone: That is not true. Hr SHITH: It 1s true. Mr Stone: The superintendents were there next day. Mr SHITH: Mr Speaker, I happened to be at Rapid Creek Primary School on Friday. I saw the Deputy Secretary chauffeuring somebody - I believe it was his secretary - who dropped off a letter relating to school closures to the principal of the school. A man on $75 000 to $80 000, the Deputy Secretary to the Department of Education, was chauffeuring somebody to drop off a letter. He did not go inside himself. Hr Stone: You make it up as you go along. Hr SHITH: Do you want to see me outside? Hembers interjecting. Hr Coulter: Are you offering physical violence to the honourable mini ster? 812

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