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 confident in speaking even in quite small public forums, to be involved in school councils. Members of the Legislative Assembly are notoriously self-confident in that regard. I suggest to you, Mr Deputy Speaker, that the largely Aboriginal clientele of a school like Traeger Park Primary School and their parents do not feel equally comfortable in forums of that kind, and nobody should understand that better than people like the member for Braitling. I am less sure about the instincts of the member for Greatorex in that regard, who is notoriously intolerant in that way. Mr VALE: A point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker! I was sitting in the gallery when the member for Greatorex was speaking and most of the comments that the honourable member for MacDonnell is claiming that I made were made by the member for Greatorex. If the member for MacDonnell wishes to quote honourable members, let him at least be accurate. Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: There is no point of order. Mr BELL: Mr Deputy Speaker, the member for Braitling has interjected a number of times during this debate. In future, if he wants to avoid my commenting on his points of view, he should not interject. If I comment inaccurately, he has the opportunity to contribute or to make a personal explanation. After 15 years in this Assembly, he should know what the forms of the House are. He has every opportunity to make a personal explanation. The students of Traeger Park Primary School put on a very impressive demonstration. In concluding this debate, let me put this on the record. Do not imagine that, when the government's amendment is passed and, unfortunately, this eminently sensible motion of censure against the minister is rejected, that that will be the end of it. I signal to every person in the Territory and certainly every government member in this Assembly that the battle for those schools will continue. It will not cease when we have a division on this debate. We will not just go off to dinner and forget about it. I feel very strongly about the interests of parents in obtaining quality education for their kids, and I want the minister to be under no illusion about the fact that I will give every support to those schools that believe, quite reasonably, that the decision to close them has been taken unreasonably by a government that has no mandate to do so. Mr Finch: What do you mean? Mr BELL: No mandate to do so. It is a shame you were not here to hear what I had to say earlier. Because of that lack of a mandate, because the government did not take this to the people in October last year, the Minister for Education is living a lie. I want to stress the disproportionate nature of these reductions. The claim that the highest proportion of these reductions will occur outside the school fence is not defensible. To use the minister's metaphor, I believe that 70% of those cuts will impact within the school fence as was shown by the figures I gave. I am not sure how useful that metaphor is because, of course, the Impact within the school fence of the cutting of curriculum and support services cannot be assessed. I am not sure that the metaphor deserves the sort of credence the minister would give to it. The minister made a fulsome defence of devolution. In support of this motion, I would like to make a few comments about devolution and some of the principles involved. The minister said in his speech, in rather fulsome tones, that the government is handing control of schools over to the communities. Some of those among us who are a little more realistic may in 834

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