Letter to the Press

8 February 2006

Notice of Introduction of Education and Training Reform Bill Given to Citizens after rather than Before the Event?


The Notice Paper on the internet for the Parliamentary sitting 7 February did not list the Education and Training Reform Bill. Yet Hansard lists it as having been first         read on that date.  But Hansard did not go up on the Internet until late on 8 February.

The Notice Paper for 8 February was not available on the evening of 7 February although the Notice Paper usually goes up the afternoon/evening of the day before.  In fact we were unable, in spite of many attempts on 7th February and during the day of 8 February to access the 8 February Notice Paper until the evening of 8 February. This means that Notice is given after rather than before the event.

When finally the Notice paper was available on the evening of 8 February – the whole 103 pages of it – the Education and Training Reform Bill was listed for its second reading on the day of the 8th February.

If the only way most citizens and voters  have access to the Notice Paper is on the Internet through Parliamentary documents, and notice to the citizens is given after rather than before the event, isn’t this just plain wrong.

We cannot find the status of Bills on the internet beyond 7th February – and it is not even listed for the 7th February. Is this internet obfuscation deliberate? Or are we, as citizens dealing with incompetence. The Status of Bills on the internet on 8 February refers only to the status on 7 February when it was introduced. So, there is a question after it is on the Notice Paper on the evening of the 8th of February as listed for a second reading, what its status is on the evening of 8 February.

Has it been second read?  Has it been passed?

.The process is not just about education - it is about the complete contempt with which the Bracks Government – like the Kennett government before it, treats Victorian citizens and voters.

Petitions Opposing the Bill: When will they be presented?

Seven politicians in both houses have been requested to present petitions with signatures against this legislation, before the legislation was introduced into the Parliament. An eighth politician was approached by a citizen/voter in her electorate but her office was closed.

In 2006 in the Legislative Assembly, Ted Baillieu has been asked to present petitions with 450 names; Mary Delahunty 450 names; Lynne Kosky 556 names; and Bronwyn Pike  450 names. In the Upper House David Davis has been asked to present 450 names; Theo Theophanous 450; and Glenys Romanes 450 and  Kay Darveniza, when her office is open, will be asked to present 502 names.

So far this year seven politicians have been asked to present petitions with 3,256 names opposing this legislation. When Kay Darveniza has received her request, there will be 3758 names. There are more petitions which are already signed which politicians will be asked to present in the near future. Supporters of public education are continuing to collect names.

These numbers should be contrasted with other petitions presented in relation to this Bill. For instance, five politicians in the lower house have presented on 7 February 2006 petitions with 185 names from the Home Schooling group.

This legislation is not a Reform Bill. It is a Deform Bill.

It promises to set in motion the deregistration of  so called “underperforming” government schools and the handing over of our schools to private enterprise in the form of religious and private corporations. The educational “entrepreneurs” are poised like vultures for the pickings. The English precedent and its problems are there for all to read about in the Guardian newspaper.

Why is the media so shy about robust discussion on the fundamental changes which will render public education as we know it a thing of the dreamtime? So much for the cornerstone of our liberal, democratic, heterogeneous society?


For further discussion on these matters, listen to 3CR,

855 on the am dial


12.30 p.m. next Saturday.

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Last modified:Wednesday, 08 February 2006