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Friday, 10 November 2000
Page: 19716

Senator ALLISON (2:12 PM) —I indicate the support of the Australian Democrats for these amendments. I do not want to speak at length, but I would put in a special plea for this money to be used not just for students with disabilities. I would ask the minister to look at those students in our schools who have learning disabilities that are not currently recognised as disabilities. There is no question that this is a needy group and it goes largely unrecognised. For many students, the recognition of a learning difficulty, whether it be dyslexia or some such problem which stops a student learning at the same rate as their peers, is long overdue. It does not matter how many times you test students like this, it does not matter how many times you humiliate them with their disadvantage in attaining better educational outcomes, this group is sorely underrecognised in the government as being needy of assistance. Without amending the amendments, I make my own request to the government that this area be looked at in the future. There is a great need for us to provide for such students.