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School CP - August 1998

Sunday Times, Perth, 16 August 1998

Barnett Firm Against Caning


[Western Australia] Education Minister Colin Barnett would like to gag debate on corporal punishment.

Speaking at the opening of the WA Council of State School Organisations (WACSSO) annual conference, Mr. Barnett said that raising the issue, even by opposing it, would inflame the debate.

Some Liberal backbenchers have called for corporal punishment to be reintroduced into schools.

It has been banned in all Government schools since 1987, but it is still in the new Education Act, because a small number of private schools still use corporal punishment.

"My position is well known, I will never support corporal punishment," Mr. Barnett said.

"But a debate to ban it totally, would quickly turn into a debate in Parliament to re-introduce corporal punishment in the present Hanson-style political environment.

"Large sections of the community will demand the re-introduction.

"They will not succeed but many will argue for it.

"This is a debate that schools do not need to have," Mr. Barnett said.

However, WACSSO is due to debate the issue this weekend, with its policy firmly opposed to any re-introduction of corporal punishment.

Opposition Education Spokesman Eric Ripper said while the Government might view such a debate as a conscience vote, the ALP would uniformly oppose any re-introduction of corporal punishment.


Copyright News Limited 1998

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