Education Minister Joy Burch hit back in the face of tough questioning on Monday over the removal of land from Telopea Park school, the boy-in-a-cage episode and a declaration of no confidence in her by the teachers' union.
Liberal education spokesman Steve Doszpot asked Ms Burch why she hadn't fought to retain the Telopea Park land for the school, rather than allowing it to be transferred to the Land Development Agency which plans to sell it for development as a childcare centre.
Ms Burch said if it the land, currently home to the school's tennis courts, was used for childcare, it arguably remained an education use. And she said at the moment the tennis courts were accessible only to a limited number of students, given they had to leave the school precinct and cross the road to use them.
Asked what would happen if the school roll increased, Ms Burch said there were ways of managing school rolls, including limiting enrolment to the priority areas.
An official from the education directorate, Tracy Stewart, rejected the school parents and citizens group's claim that Telopea had the smallest space of any Canberra public school when calculated by the number of students. The directorate said that did not tally with departmental figures, and the P and C itself had conceded the figures were rough estimates.
"Certainly, Telopea in terms of land per student, doesn't have the least amount of land per student of ACT public schools, and we would say that they certainly have sufficient land per student to manage the educational program," she said.
Mr Doszpot also led questioning on the incident in which a Canberra school was discovered to have built a cage-like structure to contain an autistic boy, still under investigation. Mr Doszpot asked who had planned the cage, who had authorised it, who had built it, who had paid for it, and who within the directorate knew of it. But Ms Burch refused to answer each question, insisting they were "inappropriate" given an investigation was underway.
"Your insistence and persistence in this, knowing full well that it's part of an active investigation, either shows your complete disregard for the people involved or just sheer mischief making," she said.
"This is a child with challenging behaviours that needs to be supported, not used as a political football."
She has also refused to release the terms of reference for the inquiry, even in redacted form.
The Liberals' Brendan Smyth referred to a series of controversies in Ms Burch's uncontroversial portfolios and asked how she would go about restoring confidence in her leadership, after a no-confidence vote in her by the teachers' union over their industrial agreement.
Ms Burch rejected the suggestion that her portfolios were uncontroversial.
"If anyone, and you included, think that disability, care and protection, youth justice are non controversial, well more fool you, Mr Smyth," she said, insisting, "When I move about schools the school community does have confidence in me."