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Wednesday, 27 November 1996
Page: 6178


Senator VANSTONE (Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs)(6.32 p.m.) —After 12 years in the federal parliament, it is no surprise to me whatsoever that a state which looks like it has been caught out cost shifting and faces a change as a consequence of that, naturally, argues its case. Of course they are going to. We have a federal system and there is always argy-bargy between the states and the Commonwealth. It probably works the other way, if the states ever think they have successfully caught the Commonwealth out. I have yet to meet a state minister—or, for that matter, a person—who welcomes the identification that they are no longer going to get funding that they used to get in the past. Of course, they complain. Of course, they use every bit of political rhetoric they possibly can.

They come along and say, `You've got your figures wrong, we want more money.' Of course they do. That is to be expected. No state says, `Gee, you've cottoned on that we are saving money every time kids leave government schools and shift to non-government schools, that we've been happily doing a bit of cost shifting. Now that you've found it out, I feel very guilty. Heavens, let us offer you more money.' That is not going to happen, Senator Carr. If, in the duration of your time here, your party returns to government—and if you expect to stay here for a long time, I suppose that will happen; it comes in cycles—if you expect people to come along and push you out of the way in order to give you money back, you are in for a big shock.