Thursday, August 09, 2007

2,000 Schoolchildren

From the ABC Lateline interview with Mal Brough (emphasis mine). I sense a loophole forming for the Federal Government here:

TONY JONES: Now, all this is linked to school attendance, isn't it? So who in the tiny remote communities will actually be policing who goes to school and who doesn't and a corollary to this, many of those schools are too small for the numbers of children there for the obvious reason they haven't been going. Will the schools be enlarged, will you build new buildings, will there be extra teachers, will there be more chairs in the classrooms, that sort of thing, is that all going to happen?

MAL BROUGH: They're all of the reasons people have said this thing really couldn't happen in the past because they've known these facts and we've actually hidden that, well we've hidden fact that 2,000 children in the Territory in remote parts are not even enrolled. Forget about those who only attend part-time or never at all they've never been enrolled.

So, you get an influx of 2,000 more children by definition you're going to need teacher, classrooms, books, desks, etc. and we will be calling on the Territory Government to do that. That is their constitutional responsibility and Clare Martin has told the Prime Minister and I that she will ensure that occurs. There will no doubt need to be a short-term accommodation while you build more permanent accommodation.

But you said who will police this. Well first and foremost we've got to make sure we know who these 2,000 plus children are who are never enrolled, get them enrolled, that's our first issue and then when it comes to, yes, get them enrolled and when it comes to a school attendance, we need to then be very vigorous about that and do what again Aboriginal women have told me to do, treat us like white fellows. If our kids don't go to school, cause and effect. And the cause and effect here is of course up to 100 per cent quarantining of their family tax benefit so that they lose the discretionary power. There is a reason for these parents and these carers to get their children to school. Link…

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