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 from the nicely written speech that he delivered to us this morning. He said: 'How much is the community prepared to pay to keep open small schools?' My answer is that the community ought to be given the chance to address the question, but that chance has never been given. The Minister for Education stands condemned by this parliament and by the people of the Northern Territory for attempting to defend a decision from which he should have the courage to stand aside. This is the type of decision on which he should be prepared to offer his resignation. Let me come to another point 1n the minister's speech. He said that it was COGSO that persuaded the government to defer the closures until the end of the year. That was quite an admission because it sounded to me as though the boys got together in NT House and said: 'April will be okay. That is 6 months after the election and 3H years before we have to call the next one. The mugs will have forgotten. Let's close them now'. Mr Vale: Don't refer to Territorians as mugs. Mr BELL: I know that the member for Braitling is pretty slow himself but, 1f I speak a little more slowly, perhaps he will be able to concentrate on what I am saying. What I was saying was that those were the terms that he and his Cabinet colleagues were using. The Minister for Education has confessed out of his own mouth that, far from himself convincing Cabinet that there ought to be any deferral of those closures, both he and the Cabinet had to be pushed into it by COGSO. I should mention in passing that the efforts that COGSO and COGSO officers, particularly the energy and integrity that Mr Creswick has put into this issue, deserve the highest commendation from this Assembly. I believe that the honorary positions that he and other officers of COGSO hold do a great service to all students in Territory schools, and to their parents, by representing forcefully the interests of parents with respect to the education of children. The honourable minister attempted to say that COGSO had acceded to the closure of schools. I believe the COGSO position is that there may be circumstances in which some schools could close. In respect of the schools in the member for Barkly's electorate - and I refer particularly to Kiana, Warrego and Ganjarani - the debate about closure was of an entirely different order from the debate about the merits of the closure of, for example, Rapid Creek and Traeger Park Primary Schools. While I am on the subject of Traeger Park Primary School, let me pick up a comment made earlier. It may have been made by the member for Greatorex or perhaps it was an interjection from the member for Braitling. It was about the lack of parental involvement at Traeger Park Primary School. Mr Vale: It was not me. Mr BELL: It may not have been the member for Braitling, but certainly an interjection was made. It may have been made by the honourable minister himself, suggesting that lack of interest on the part of parents was one of the reasons for the demise of the school. I suggest that we look very carefully at the nature of parental involvement with school councils. The simple fact is that it is much easier for well-educated, middle-class people to be involved with school councils. It is less easy for people who have not received a full dose of secondary schooling, let alone had the advantage of tertiary education, who are less 833

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