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: Yes, I am. Mr SPEAKER: Order! I ask the member for Millner to resume his seat for a moment. Members must maintain a level of respect for one another. I refer honourable members to standing order 66: 'The Assembly will interfere to prevent the prosecution of any personal quarrel between members arising out of debates or proceedings of the Assembly or of any committee thereof, within the precincts'. Clearly, the member for Millner invited the honourable minister to step outside. I do not believe that that is parliamentary. I ask him to reconsider that statement and perhaps withdraw it. Mr SMITH: Mr Speaker, I withdraw. The point I was making was that teachers at Rapid Creek, Tiwi, Karguru and other places were given no professional support - for about a week in the case of Rapid Creek - in respect of what was happening to their schools. It is strange indeed that the Deputy Secretary to the department should be acting as a chauffeur to have somebody else deliver a letter relating to school closures, but not go into the school itself to talk to the principal at least. That is a very strange set of priorities indeed. However, we are debating a censure motion in relation to the Minister for Education. I reiterate that what is a very sensitive matter at the best of times has been handled so badly that there is a reservoir of discontent and distrust among a number of school communities in the Northern Territory that will not go away for a very long time. It does not matter particularly whether it is a school community like Rapid Creek that has been closed or a school community like Millner that has remained open. Both of those school communities and others right throughout the Northern Territory have found themselves in a position where, in their first major contact with the Minister for Education, they have been treated very shabbily indeed. That is the real concern that they have. After the wheelings and dealings of the honourable minister, his failure to tell a straight story and his ability to visit different schools and tell them different things, how can they trust him in future? That is one of the real problems and one of the real legacies of this particular mess. Mr SETTER (Jingili): Mr Speaker, it is easy to see why the Australian Labor Party lost the last election. After listening to the speech by the member for Millner, it is easy to see why, as their leader, he is a loser and why his party is a loser. I repeat what I said yesterday. It is very interesting that there is to be a Labor conference this weekend and, all of a sudden, we see members of the opposition benches becoming aggressive and very forthright in their speeches. It is quite obvious that they are trying to lift their game in order to impress their party colleagues. This is the first ALP conference for a couple of years because the ALP was not game to have one when an election was looming. That is why we have seen all this aggressiveness. Quite frankly, the whole community has been disappointed at the performance of members opposite over the previous 2 periods of sittings. The member for Millner would be the greatest case in point. Over the last 2 sittings, he sat there with a long face like a kid who had just lost his dummy. All of a sudden, he has fired himself up. He referred to the sanctimonious approach adopted in this debate by the member for Nightcliff. That is absolute nonsense! If there was a sanctimonious approach to the debate, it was his. We have heard it so many times before - false accusations, threats etc - when he was Leader of the Opposition. If he really wants to get to the bottom of the cause of this 813

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