Parliamentary record : Part I debates (02 October 1990)
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 - Tuesday 2 October 1990 Mr EDE: I am sorry. The minister did mention the need for incentives, and flick-passed it to the Commonwealth government. Mr Harri s: together, mate. Flick-passed nothing. We must be prepared to do it Mr EDE: Mr Speaker, those incentives are crucial. At the moment, in the central region, the average retention period for teachers out .bush is someth ing 1 i ke 6 months. Unt il that is increased to 2 years, you wi 11 be bashing your head against a brick wall. There are things that must be done to achieve that. Some of those are financial and others relate to the qua 1 i ty of the ass i stance that is provi ded to the teachers, the qual i ty of, the infrastructure in whi ch they work and the qual i ty of the houses in wh i ch they live. The quality of all those factors in the bush schools i sfar behind those in comparable urban schools. I do not think the minister would deny that. Those facilities are necessary to improve morale and to increase the time that people will stay in the bush so that there will be non;..Aboriginal teachers working alongside an increased number of Aboriginal teachers. With those 2 sets in place, we need to ensure equality of outcomes. We do not want to run a second-class system. We need a hard-nosed system which sees Aborigirial education as a system wherein people will achieve at the same level as everyone else,' not a system where failure is somehow excusable, where programs continue for years and students fail, but somehow it is okay because, after an, everybody else has failed in Aboriginal education. Those 3 aspects are essential. It is not enough to be weak-kneed, to ta 1 k about how tal ki ng is not enough and then to cont i nue to talk about reviewing this and that. I had hoped that the honourable minister would come up with a few key points that he might have learned, maybe by a process of osmosis because he was not listening when he was out there. I would have hoped that he might have discovered something which would have led him to say: 'Aboriginal teachers are crucial. An Aboriginalisation program is crucial. Non-Aboriginal teachers should work alongside Aboriginal teachers to increase retention rates. A full commitment to such a program will make it strong, ensuring that it will not brook failure'. If the program sets the levels at which students are to achieve, the involvement of Aboriginal people in the communities and of consultative groups like FEPPI will ensure that problems like absenteeism are addressed at the appropriate level. Mr McCARTHY (Labour, Administrative Services and Local Government): Mr Speaker, I would be willing to bet with anybody in this House that that was one of the worst ,i f not the worst, performances seen from a shadow education spokesman on a matter of such great importance. I am appalled that the shadow spokesman obviously did not bother to read this very worthwhil e report by the 1 ongest-servi ng Mi ni ster for Educat ion in th is government. The Minister for Education has shown a real commitment to education in the Northern Territory over the last 4 or 5 years. As a sign of that commitment, he set about talking' genuinely to people on the ground. Sometimes I wonder whether the member for, Stuart talks to the people in his electorate, which is really riot so different from my own. When I talk to Aboriginal people on the ground in my electorate, they tell me that they are far from satisfied with the left-wing views' put forward by people who purport to be teachers and on the side- of Aboriginal people. I am not denigrating all teachers. The vast majority of teachers in Aboriginal 10 675
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