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Tuesday, 23 March 1999
Page: 4027

Mr GRIFFIN —My question is to the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs. Is the minister aware of the view that, and I quote:

Since student unions do have a positive contribution to offer to student welfare and student education they should be supported by all those who profit from them. The funding, and therefore provision of services, would be impossible unless there was some requirement to pay a contribution.

What is his response to this view?

Dr KEMP (Education, Training and Youth Affairs; Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service) —You can see that the student unions—

Mr Downer —The old trade union question.

Mr Martin Ferguson —What did you say, Alex?

Mr Brereton —The old trade union bill.

Mr SPEAKER —The minister will resume his seat. The member for Kingsford-Smith and the member for Batman will exercise a little more restraint, as will the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I call the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs.

Dr KEMP —The argument that the member uses is nothing other than the same old argument the trade unions have always used to support the closed shop.

Mr Horne interjecting

Mr SPEAKER —I warn the member for Paterson.

Dr KEMP —The community argument that somehow or other student unions are in the same position as local governments and therefore entitled to tax all their members is not a valid argument and has never been accepted as a valid argument in relation to trade unions. It is not a valid argument in relation to private associations. Whoever puts forward this argument, wherever they may be and whoever they may be, is putting forward a mistaken argument. Student associations are not taxing agencies. This government is not going to allow them to tax. They can only obtain their finances as a result of voluntary contributions.