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Wednesday, 27 November 1996
Page: 6173

Senator VANSTONE (Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs)(6.10 p.m.) —Senator, all I can say that is useful is that, as you well know, what happens to the funding as a consequence of the EBA—and we are just talking about the EBA—is a function of the enrolments that happened at the end of each year. We can speculate on any number of little tables you can produce, and it would be futile. We are arguing about the principle.

I understand, as you rightly indicate, the department does have some concern with some variation along that table. So let us stick to the substantial principles here. The principle is that, if there is a big shift, we think funding should follow that. We do not think the states should be able to lump the costs onto the Commonwealth and make that enormous saving. We think it is fair enough. We are prepared to split it fifty-fifty. You just keep ignoring the choices made by parents as if, for some reason, this shift that has been happening is not something the government need reflect in any way and can just go on ignoring. We do not agree with you, Senator. We have a different view. We think that, if parents want to shift their children, the funding should reflect that.