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Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Page: 9761

Mr PYNE (7:29 PM) —I do not wish to delay the House at great length. I have given my speech in the second reading debate on the Schools Assistance Bill 2008 and have outlined the opposition’s reasons for their concerns with respect to the entire bill. There will be a consideration in detail period where the opposition will move three amendments at eight o’clock, but at this point of the debate I would like to move the second reading amendment standing in my name. I move:

That all words after “That” be omitted with a view to substituting the following words: “while not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House:

(1)   reaffirms its commitment to providing genuine choice in education opportunities for parents and students through both  government and non-government schooling;

(2)   notes that the Government committed to continuing the socio-economic status  (SES) model of funding for non-government schools until 2012 and that, while this bill fulfils that commitment, it contains a hidden agenda evidenced by:

(a)   granting greater power to the Minister to delay or end funding to non-government schools because of an audit qualified for non-financial reasons;

(b)   requiring adherence to a national curriculum without flexibility that puts at risk the uniqueness of Steiner, Montessori, International Baccalaureate, University of Cambridge International Examinations and special needs schools; and

(c)   forcing non-government schools to comply with a requirement to inform the Minister of every funding source to a school or an associated body that can be published—information which is both superfluous to the operation of the SES model, and is the Trojan Horse from which opponents of the SES model will head a campaign to remove it through the 2010 review; and

(3)   condemns the Government for ceasing funding for new non-government schools establishment grants, and urges the Government to reconsider this Budget decision to ensure that parents, particularly in new communities, across Australia will be able to access choice in their children’s education”.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. KJ Andrews)—Is the amendment seconded?

Mr Hartsuyker —I second the amendment and reserve my right to speak.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER —The original question was that this bill be now read a second time. To this the honourable member for Sturt has moved as an amendment that all words after ‘That’ be omitted with a view to substituting other words. The question now is that the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question. There being more than one voice calling for a division, in accordance with standing order 133 the division is deferred until after 8 pm.

Debate adjourned.