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Monday, 15 June 2009
Page: 5907

Ms GILLARD (Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion) (3:57 PM) —Mr Speaker, I seek the indulgence of the chair to add to an answer.

The SPEAKER —The minister may proceed.

Ms GILLARD —I seek to add to an answer asked of me by the shadow minister for education, when he was in the parliament earlier, which related to the Hastings Public School. The assertion in the member’s question was that somehow the cost for a covered outdoor learning area had increased tenfold in just six years. Can I clarify the matter as follows: the Hastings Public School in New South Wales has certainly received $400,000 for the construction of a covered outdoor learning area. This is a significant building with a solid roof. It also includes an amphitheatre, seating and a sound system to facilitate school assemblies and performances and science and art work spaces.

I do not know whether the member was seeking to assert that in 2003 the Hastings Public School had received $40,000 for some shadecloth. I do not have a record of that. What I think is quite likely to have happened is that the shadow minister has become confused between the Hastings Public School in New South Wales and Hastings Primary School in Victoria. If he has become confused on that basis let me take the opportunity to explain to him that they are two different schools in two different states.

The Hastings Public School in New South Wales, which is so ably represented in this parliament by the member for Lyne, also received funding of $2.6 million for new classroom construction. I understand from him that he is very well aware of the views of the school. They are delighted with the funding for the covered outdoor learning area. The principal has also informed me that he is a semifinalist in The Einstein Factor, with the topic of Franklin Roosevelt—

Opposition members interjecting—

Ms GILLARD —I know that wishing a principal well is just too much for the opposition to do; it is too hard!

Ms Julie Bishop —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order on relevance. This is going far beyond just the indulgence of adding to an answer to a question. The Deputy Prime Minister is getting on to areas that are totally irrelevant to any question asked of her in question time and she should be sat down.

The SPEAKER —The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will resume her seat. The Deputy Prime Minister is adding to an answer.

Ms GILLARD —I know that it is beyond the charity of heart of the opposition to wish a school principal well in The Einstein Factor, but I most certainly do, and I am sure that members of the government and the Independents do, including the local member opposite. I am sure that, in studying Franklin Roosevelt for The Einstein Factor competition, the principal’s grasp on economics is now far clearer than that of the Liberal opposition and what it has got to offer.