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- Start of Business
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Senator BOLKUS, Senator VANSTONE)
(Senator CHAPMAN, Senator ALSTON)
(Senator JACINTA COLLINS, Senator VANSTONE)
(Senator McGAURAN, Senator PARER)
(Senator CARR, Senator VANSTONE)
Small Business: Franchising Code Council
(Senator MURRAY, Senator PARER)
(Senator FORSHAW, Senator VANSTONE)
Apple and Pear Industries
(Senator HARRADINE, Senator PARER)
Labour Market Programs
(Senator MACKAY, Senator VANSTONE)
(Senator WOODLEY, Senator PARER)
(Senator SHERRY, Senator KEMP)
(Senator SANDY MACDONALD, Senator NEWMAN)
- Regional Development
- University Fees
- PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
- MID-YEAR ECONOMIC AND FISCAL OUTLOOK
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
- NOTICES OF MOTION
PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE INCENTIVES BILL 1997
HEALTH LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE INCENTIVES) BILL 1996
MEDICARE LEVY AMENDMENT BILL (No. 2) 1996
TAXATION LAWS AMENDMENT (PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE INCENTIVES) BILL 1997
- QUESTIONS ON NOTICE
Thursday, 27 February 1997
Senator CARR —My question is addressed to the Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs. On 22 January, as reported in the Australian newspaper, the chair of the higher education review indicated that he believed Australia had too many universities. Did he in fact say, `There are 36 public institutions and two private universities in this population of 18 million, and they are all degree conferring institutions—now obviously the review will have to look at that.' Do you agree with that view? Can you assure the University of Ballarat, James Cook University or South Australia's only non-metropolitan university campus, Whyalla, that they will not close as a result of this review?
Senator VANSTONE —Senator Carr, I am sorry you reveal in your question the typical Labor attitude, and that is you would not set up a review unless you were guaranteed that you would hand-pick the people to give you the answer that you wanted. That is what you would do. You would ring up a few mates, give them a job and pay them far more than they were worth—your government had a history of doing that. Look at what you paid Neville Wran to do with ANL—plenty of money there. What is the rule of thumb given to them? You have to come up with a solution that suits us. It has to suit either the unions, the Labor minister or whatever.
To your great surprise—something that you find completely unacceptable; something that you are completely baffled by and that you have no capacity to understand—and what you are baffled by is that this government would give people the freedom with broad terms of reference to actually report to the government on what they thought. You apparently find that an appalling prospect.
I want to make it clear to you that I went to great pains to ensure that the terms of reference for the higher education review were as broad as they possibly could be. Unlike you, Senator Carr, who seemss to think you are the repository of all knowledge in the world and especially on this subject, I am bright enough to recognise that there may be some people who have other views and those views might have some value. So I am prepared to set up a review with very broad terms of reference so that the review could genuinely look in an objective way at what will be better for higher education in Australia.
The chair of the review has expressed a number of views. I saw some of those reports. Undoubtedly, there are others that have not come to my attention. I do not think you should prejudge the outcome of the review on a few—some of them might be puerile—pieces of paper and a few news reports of the views of one member of that committee. I really think you are jumping the gun here, son; you just have to wait. I am sorry that the higher education review is not going to report at a time convenient to you. It is going to report when it has done the job properly, and the terms of reference are as broad as they can possibly be.
I am absolutely confident that the higher education review will recognise the value of universities, such as those you mentioned. I will give an example of the University of Ballarat. Last week or the week before, I was in Laverton, Western Australia, opening a regional development association to which we are contributing some funds as a means of trying to increase indigenous employment in the area. Who was one of the people who assisted in a tour of the mines? A graduate of the University of Ballarat. Did he have to wait to get a job? No. Why? Because the University of Ballarat offered a specialist course in environmental landscaping.
The young man left the University of Ballarat and immediately got a job with Argyle Diamond Mines. He has left there and is now working for the Placer (Granny Smith) mine. He shifted from the Argyle Diamond Mines where he was engaged in re-landscaping—you should be interested in this—the mine sites and is now working on those sorts of projects at Placer (Granny Smith).
Each of these universities have their specialist areas, and I do not feel at all concerned for their future. I am absolutely confident that the people we have picked for the higher education review will come up with a very solid plan for higher education for the next 10 to 20 years—absolutely confident of that, Senator. (Time expired)
Senator CARR —Madam President, I ask a supplementary question to the minister. Since she can give no assurance to the universities at Ballarat, James Cook or the campus at Whyalla, I would ask that the minister give an assurance that the review of higher education is not predicated on the declining public expenditure on higher education or on cuts to the number of people accessing higher education.
Senator VANSTONE —There is a couple of things you need to have pointed out to you, and one is to show your own deceitfulness. I am reasonably confident that, if you go through all the news clippings, you will also find Mr West saying, `But you cannot turn the clock back.' You do not mention that, do you? Why do you not mention that that is what he said—that you cannot turn the clock back? Do you know why you do not mention that? Because it does not suit your cheap, political, tatty little purposes. That is why you do not mention it.
I have made it abundantly clear to you that the terms of reference are as broad as possible. They are most certainly not predicated on a reduction in government funding or of funding government students.