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 demographers' figures'. I can give several examples where the demographers' figures bear absolutely no relation to reality. Mr Stone: Well, give them. Mr BELL: The added impact that these cuts will have on schools in my electorate makes me shiver for the life chance of kids, be they white kids at Yulara or Aboriginal kids at Kintore. If the member for Braitling wishes to interject in relation to the types of names that I am being called, I hope he will rise to make a more sensible contribution to this debate. The whole business of these ministerial visits to schools was extraordinary. They took on the atmosphere of an emergency services squad. Their impact was made far worse by the fact that the minister spent very little time in the schools, visited schools out of hours, went to schools during school holiday periods and treated the whole consultation process with the type of arrogance for which he is rapidly becoming famous. I referred earlier to COGSO and, by way of interjection, the minister tried to tell me that COGSO was quite happy with the school closures process. Let me disabuse him in that regard. I believe I have its statement here. Mr Stone: Do you want me to read it out for you? Mr BEIL: Mr Speaker, I regret I do not have a copy of it with me. I undertake to provide a copy of that, statement to the Assembly during the day. It makes an absolute lie of the claim that COGSO accepts the closure of these schools in any way at all. More importantly, COGSO bitterly resents the lack of consultation in respect of those closures. In reference to the campaign run by parents, there are 2 further documents that are of interest to honourable members, 1 of which comes from Millner Primary School. Basically, it stated that the government should be closing State Square and not state schools. I thought that a particularly apposite approach to the problem and, apparently, it was a successful one too. The name of this game is lobbying. Tn the uncontrolled atmosphere created by this government, every school had to fight for itself. It was very fortunate that the schools had COGSO as a linking organisation for their efforts. The other document that I wish to table in that respect is the 'Procedures and Criteria for Closure of Schools' ln the Education Bulletin of November 1985. I will not. go through the entire process laid out there, but it certainly implies a grpater consultation process than has been provided in this case. I contrast both the proposals for consultation in that document and the actual process carried out with the process that has been set in train in South Australia. As I said in public debate at the time, I had taken an opportunity during a recent visit to Adelaide to be briefed by the Minister for Education, Mr Crafter, in respect of school closures. As the minister says, quite rightly, this is not the only government seeking to close schools. However, it is the only government that is seeking to close them overnight. I appreciated being advised by Mr Crafter of the process that occurred in respect of schools around Elizabeth. That department did not set a 2-month lead time for decisions in this regard. It set a 2-vear period. Mr Reed: That is the socialist way. They cannot make a decision. 780

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