Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (02 October 1990)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (02 October 1990)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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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 - Tuesday 2 October 1990 Mr SPEAKER: Order! Would the honourable Minister for Education provide a copy of this statement? Mr HARRIS: Mr Speaker, the statement and the report are tabled. It was approved by Cabinet. Mr SPEAKER: There is no point of order. Irrespective of whether or not it was approved by Cabinet, there is no point of order under standing order 258, as the honourable minister has provided copies of the statement to be made available for distribution to members when the minister commences his statement. Mr HARRIS: Within this report are strategies flowing from the hopes, concerns and plans of the hundreds of Aboriginal people in dozens of remote area communities with whom I discussed education and its place in their future. I would have thought that the member for Stuart would have been interested to comment on this very important issue. Instead, he stands to raise a point of order. I am making a statement, and I wi 11 be interested to hear his remarks on it. Visions of those meetings are very clear in my mind today. Mariy' of those Aboriginal people, who made time to speak to me, hold very firm views' on education. The vast majority agree that it is a master key which must be used with skill to unlock the future for their children and their communities as a whole. It is important for members to understand that, a lthough the proposals out 1 i ned in thi s report are very clear and spec i fi c, and are firmly directed in the way in which they target problems identified by Aboriginal people, this is their first public airing. Every opportunity must be gi ven for pub 1 i c di scuss i on and comment on these proposals before they are considered for adoption and implementation. The review process will be complete only when feedback has been received and cons i dered ,and decisionsmade~ To that end, the text I have presented today will be published with photographs and circulated. ' Public comment on the report is to be submitted to the Northern Territory Minister for Education. I am sure that members wi 11 fi nd the vi ews, concerns and ideas put forward by Aboriginal people in their discussions with me to be, most interest i ng and cha 11 engi ng. I am also sure that members wi 11 fi nd the points raised and initiatives proposed in this report to be very thought-provoking. From the start, I set out to confront the most difficult problems affecting remote Aboriginal communities, not by calling on the experts but by speaking to the Aboriginal people themselves. As I have stated in the revi ew, often governments and the pub 1 i c hear an art i cu 1 ated version of Aboriginal concerns. Often too the issues involved are highly sensitive and I suspect that, in many instances, the emphasis of the message we recei ve depends on where the messengers bel i eve safe ground 1 i es. As a result, Aboriginal education has become a field in which code words and phrases are often used ,in a vague and generalised way where specifics are necessary. Words 1 ike I empowerment I and I two-ways I educat i on are used in various contexts, the vast majority of which are not understood by those who are destined to receive the services involved. It is important that we address the many serious problems in Aboriginal education openly and honestly. I think the approach we need' to take is best summed up in the title I have chosen for my report. Indeed, talking is not enough if we are determi ned to 1 i ft success in terms of the educat i ona 1 outcomes achieved by Aborigines in remote areas of the Territory to those of other Australian students. 10 671