Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 February 1989)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 16 February 1989 also needs to note that the great difficulty that the schools have is not with the poor people who cannot afford to pay. In schools generally, we find that the struggling, hard-working and poor parents deprive themselves and make the effort to pay the school fees, and all credit to them for the effort that they are putting into their children's education. Peculiarly enough, it is those people who have money and can afford to pay but simply will not, because they want to spend the money in the pub or on a new car or whatever, who create a real problem for the school councils. Mr Ede: Perhaps they believe in free education as a matter of principle. Mr HATTON: I would like to address the issue of free education. Of course, education has never been free. It is relatively free. Certainly, we do not pay the cost of the teachers' wages. We are not paying private education costs, and it is basically ... Mr Ede: What school did you go to in Surry Hills? Mr HATTON: Mr Speaker, I did not go to Surry Hills School. My wife attended Surry Hills School. I went to school at Campbelltown. The honourable member made a bia fuss directed at the member for Koolpinyah, and she put him down nicely.- I do understand the problems of those poor people who are paying fees. If the honourable member thinks that I do not understand the issue of payment and penalties for non-payment, I car inform him that, in my matriculation year, I could not get textbooks until I had done enough part-time work to be able to pay the school fees, which took a whole school term. If he thinks I do not know what I am talking about, let him think again. ' When we talk about being able to borrow library books to take home, we are a long way from that situation. Schools and school councils, made up of parents of students in those schools, have made those decisions. I do not want to get involved in that debate. I am involved with school councils in my electorate and I will deal with the matter on a local basis, where I should be dealing with it: as a parent on the school council. 1 support the view that the school councils and the parents, through the school councils, should have a say on those issues. Mr Ede: Do you reckon there should be no libraries? No borrowing rights? Mr HATTON: Mr Speaker, that is a matter for the schools. In my electorate, we will deal with the parents, and I do not believe that we will have the problems that the honourable member is talking about. The honourable member spoke also about cuts in teacher/student ratios. Of course, he was really referring to the changes made in 1987. What he failed to say, as the Teachers Federation and the opposition continually fail to say, was that what happened in 1987 was that the government said it would enforce the student/teacher ratio agreements and remove the excess numbers of teachers in the system over and above those ratios~ That was the basis of what happened in 1987, when the system was put in place. I stand by those decisions. I would ask the member to identify decisions taken since then. There have been no government decisions changing student/teacher ratios since that time. That is the period which the honourable member is speaking of. I would like now to address the particular issue I rose to speak about. The member for Stuart can leave. It would not interest him because it has 5611
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