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 fact interpret this as the government washing its hands of responsibility for the provision of quality public education. I certainly believe that many of the decisions associated with this do mean that. School councils are comprised of volunteers - people who attend meetings weekly, fortnightly or monthly and who have full-time jobs. They are not in a position necessarily to supervise contracts or to make tough professional decisions about the application of funding for relief teachers. In fact, it is probably worth flagging a future debate in this regard. A large number of issues involved here that have not been debated and that are not able to be debated in the context of this motion. Each one of them deserves a debate of this length. I ask you, Mr Deputy Speaker, how you would view the idea of making a decision about the application of funds for a relief teacher? If a teacher in a given subject happens to be absent, what are the virtues of employing somebody to replace them or otherwise? Mr Coulter: Who do you say should make that decision? Mr BELL: I will pick up the interjection. If a class does not have a teacher for a subject, there is an educational decision to be made. Is it to be for one 30-minute session or is it to be for 3 weeks or 6 weeks or a semester? There is obviously a point at which an educational decision, a decision about the quality of education being provided for that class ... Mr Stone: That stays with the minister under the current proposal. Mr BELL: Mr Speaker, if those decisions are made by the minister now, they will be transferred to school councils. There needs to be a little more public debate about that instead of a raft of decisions being handed down as has occurred. The so-called devolution proposals are really the government washing its hands of responsibility. That is not a responsible approach to public education. Obviously I have not convinced government members in that regard. Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! There is too much cross-Chamber chatter. Mr BELL: I do not believe there was anybody interjecting from this side of the House. It is funny that, when the government interjects, it is always judged to be coming from both sides. Members interjecting Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! I distinctly heard interjections on both sides of the House. Mr BELL: I thought that was just me speaking, Mr Deputy Speaker. In conclusion, I draw attention once again to the rationalisation of expenditure document, to the large number of issues involved in that and to the failure of the government to carry out constructive public debate on those issues. I draw to the attention of this Assembly the government's attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the people of the Territory by failing to address these issues in the election context. Let me give one final little serve to the member for Nightcliff. Of all the mealy-mouthed loads of nonsense that I have ever heard, that was the worst. Good grief! If he has the gall to rise in this Assembly and attempt to lend credence to the decisions of his government when, in fact, he very well knows that an active decision was taken by the Cabinet, of which he was a member, not to run these issues before the election, he deserves 835