Legislative Council: Tuesday, November 29, 2022


Personal Explanation

Matter of Privilege

The Hon. E.S. BOURKE (17:37): I seek leave to make a personal explanation.

Leave granted.

The Hon. E.S. BOURKE: Earlier today, the Hon. Dr Nicola Centofanti raised a matter of privilege in relation to answers I gave in question time on 8 September 2022. On 8 September, I was asked a question by the Hon. Stephen Wade regarding the government's policy to invest in mental health and learning support specialists. Based on the advice that I had received at the time my answer was that the government has committed an additional $50 million over four years to employ 100 additional mental health and learning support specialists.

The Hon. Stephen Wade then clarified that the question related to whether these 100 specialists were in addition to the 55 specialists committed to by the former government and I repeated my response. The response I gave was consistent—word for word—with the advice that I was given. Having reviewed Hansard and considered the advice now provided to me, I would like to apologise and correct the record.

I have today been advised that the 55 specialists that the Hon. Stephen Wade referred to in his question were a commitment made by the former government. I am advised none of these 55 specialists were employed prior to the election. Our government's commitment was for a total of 100 specialists. I have also now been advised that the $50 million funding for these specialists was funding from within the Department for Education that has been allocated to employ 100 mental health and learning support specialists, consistent with the government's election commitment to make this investment.

I apologise to the parliament for not clearly expressing this information. It is a privilege to step foot on the floor of this parliament and I would never knowingly or intentionally mislead the members of this chamber. It is safe to say that this has been a learning experience for me. I understand that I expressed advice as fact and will not make that mistake again. I am pleased that we are investing $50 million over four years to employ mental health and learning support specialists. My focus is to ensure that this important policy is given the respect and space it deserves to be successful.