Monday 27th June 2016 – Part 2 Legislative Assembly

By Anthea Batsakis

3:35pm-The bill to improve access to drug rehabilitation to rural areas has been introduced and read for the first time by the Opposition.

3:37pm-The bill seeks to use education to target vulnerable people.

3:41pm-The Government Leader points out that drug education isn’t for everyone. He says rehab facilities in rural areas only “serve as  band aid instead of a legitimate healing solution.”

“Would you like it if your area was disrupted by a band aid solution?”

3:44pm-The opposition speaker says children in rural areas are most susceptible to drug addiction as there is a lack of facilities.

“From what we’ve seen, there’s not enough education in school because there’s still high percentage of children doing drugs.”

3:46pm-Opposition acknowledges the expense of public transport to rehab centres and suggests a public transport discount of 50% for young people travelling more than 10km to rehab.

3:48pm-Government speaker describes a list of ways the opposition has missed the mark, including not addressing mental health.

3:51pm-“How will we know this will be beneficial to families? How do we know families are disconnected from the individual?”

Government says we should be supporting funding to community projects in rural areas rather than funding workshops where it’s not guaranteed people will show up.

Online education is easily accessed, they point out.

3:54pm-Opposition speaker says rural communities are often neglected, and he emphasises the importance of education from a social network, not just experts.

3:55pm-“Give them knowledge and information before the issue gets worse.”

3:58pm- Opposition says not all young people go to school and so an external facility – like a sporting area – should be used as an alternative.

“They’re using buzzwords to distract us from the truth.” – Youth Premier.

4:00pm- The Youth Premier refers to a scientific study tested on rats as an example of how recreation activities work just as well to keep drugs away.

4:02pm- “The rural areas are where the problem lies.”


4:03pm-“Are you suggesting people are trying to help withdraw by watching YouTube videos?” – Opposition member

4:04pm-The Opposition has a problem with the public transport discount. He says 10km is arbitrary and is the same as a “walk to McDonalds”.

It can be easily exploited and instead, rehab should go to the drug sufferers.

4:06pm- A government member uses the prestige of Oxford and Cambridge studies to show: “you’re trying to do good, but ultimately you’re handing them over to the executioner.”

4:08pm- “The closest rehab centre from Horsham is in Melbourne. Three hours away.” He speaks slowly, for effect.

4:10pm- Opposition member shares an emotional anecdote from “the ice capital of Australia”.

“In my English class alone, I know of more than four people that are currently using illicit drugs. Their actions will affect me.”

She says without this bill, the problem will only get worse.

4:12pm- More recreation activities aren’t enough, opposition says. “Why don’t we have this problem in the city when there is so much to do.”

4:14pm- “Would we be forming a rehabilitation myki card?” Government speaker says it would add to public discrimination and is wasteful to tax payer dollars.

4:16pm-“Our youth are dying from an ultimately avoidable cause.”

4:18pm- Government says young people won’t stop being interested in drugs, even with education. The room erupts with “Assumption!”

4:19pm- Rat debate returns

4:20pm- Bill will be read again

4:24pm-Clause changed to remove the word “illicit” as prescribed drugs can also be addictive.

4:27pm- Bill passes with the necessary ammendments, 29 to 15.

By Christiane Barro

1:00pm- The parliamentary debate to reform the VCE Bill has commenced.

1:05pm-Hoppers Crossing Secondary College: To ensure a range of different learning methods and extracurricular activities including work experience, are recognised in a students ATAR.

1:07pm-10 hours of involvement and extra curricular activity to boost ATAR scores.

1:10pm– Gannawarra Shire:The whole point of an ATAR would become completely overlooked.

1:11pm-Opposition say 10 hours is not enough!

1:12pm- Could lead to subjectivity in marking.

1:14pm- Hoppers Crossing Secondary College: exams place a large disadvantage to those that don’t typically appeal to traditional learning. Exams focus on the technique of ‘wrote learning’ .

1:15pm- Gannawarra Shire: “Students may disobey these rules and cheat that they’ve done this activity.”

1:16pm- VCAA cannot assess whether students will develop vocational skills.

1:19pm- Hoppers Crossing Secondary College-3 people marking the exam or 1 person? Leads to subjectivity. Also 30% of an individuals ATAR can’t be determined by 10 hours of vocational and extracurricular work.

1:20 pm-To eliminate subjectivity, assessment will be done by regular log booking. An ECAA representative will make regular visits to ensure students to not forge or leave their log booking to the last minute.

1:23pm- ATAR should not be determined by how a student preforms on one test or on “one day of your life”.

“ATAR should represent the students true capabilities and not their ability to regurgitate  material at the end of the year. ”

1:28pm- “The fact is extracurricular activity takes effort.”

“There is effort and achievement outside of academic.”

1:30pm– Gannawarra Shire – “ATAR already caters for various types of assessment.”

1:33pm- Hoppers Crossing Secondary College-“VCE rewards people with the best memories. I say this because I have lived it. It could not be an assumption. It really is a broken system we do to need in this day and age.”

1:37pm- “It would give students the life skills and not just the book skills”

1:40pm- “There are always going to be people cheating the system no matter what system you take out.”

1:42pm- Gannawarra Shire-There is more than 1 way to get into university. The atar score is very heavily important where exams scores are very heavily important.

Subjectivity is a key implication to the suggested reform  “Do you mark someone on their enthusiasm, whether their early or late…?”

1:49pm-: The bill will now be considered by the committee.

1:58pm- Results: 43 that refute any amendments to Clause 8 compared to 10 supporters. Result is defeated.

2:02pm-: From a slim 29 to 24, the VCE reformation bill has passed.


By Netania Lim

2:18pm: We’re back in the Legislative Assembly for more debates.

2:20pm: Horsham Secondary College students are putting forward a bill to help veterans incorporate them into the community and commemorate their “sacrifice, tireless effort and strength.”

2:24pm: “Sometimes, good intentions are just not enough,” says Youth Premier Omar Al Dabel. “Just because it’s a good idea, doesn’t mean it’s a good bill.”

2:33pm: Advocates of the bill tell the story of real veterans and how to better offer them support.


Veterans Support.jpg
In the Legislative Assembly debating the bill for veterans support.

2:39pm: Resources will not be used efficiently according to the refuters of this bill.

2:43pm: Opposition notes that rural veterans may live too far away to access services for veterans.

2:45pm: Sponsors of the bill say veteran support will be made compulsory because veterans can brush off counseling.

“We’re looking out for them,” they say.

2:47pm: Opposition questions why support should wait until veterans return from involvement in the defence force.

2:48pm: The focus should be on peer support, according to opponents of the bill.

2:50pm: Opposition is greatly disappointed by the dismissal of women’s role in the defence force.

2:55pm: “It is our duty to look after these people when they return to us.”

2:58pm: Veteran support takes away their freedom.

3:00pm: Angus McDonald, opposition leader in the Legislative Assembly says this bill is “a crucial first step that we must take. We must stand for those who stood before.”

3:02pm: Amendments to clauses now being debated.

3:07pm: Addition of a clause to create a 24-hour hotline being debated. On the one hand, support is great; on the other, it requires “unsustainable” resources and time.

3:14pm: The veterans support bill has passed unanimously.


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