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Wednesday, 21 November 1973
Page: 1980

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - In reply to what Senator McManus just said about the Australian Broadcasting Commission, I did not hear the broadcast and therefore I make no comment other than to say that generally speaking in my opinion the Commission gives the most objective views of the proceedings of this Parliament of any news services.

Realising again that these amendments are consequential upon the decision of the Committee yesterday, I merely reiterate the Government's belief that by the decision yesterday the

Bill has been emasculated. We continue our opposition to these consequential amendments and express our strong opposition to them. Realising, however, that we do not have the numbers in this place to effect any other amendment we do not intend to divide the House.

I should mention, in replying shortly to Senator Rae- I do so only because he took advantage of the fact that our proceedings are being broadcast to re-open this matter, and I hope that my remarks will not re-open the whole debate that we had yesterday- that in the early part of the Committee stage of the debate on this Bill, he and Senator Carrick, and more particularly Senator McManus, had a lot to say about the acceptance of the need for a Schools Commission and their intention that it should be an effective organ in meeting the situation in Australian schools. I suggest that their approach now is completely different from the attitude they adopted during the election campaign last year when this matter became one of the major planks, if not the major plank, of the platform for election of a Labor Government. I believe that the Senate would be interested to know, and certainly the Government would be interested to know, whether the Opposition parties intend to support the States Grants (Schools) Bill when it comes before the Senate. I say that because that Bill gives effect to the program of assistance recommended by the Interim Schools Committee and will be the real test for those who now claim their endorsement of the Government's policy of using that representative group of experts to make recommendations on the financial needs of schools and the appropriate means of providing for those needs. I merely mention that matter because Senator Rae's proposal suggests that 14 members of the Commission should be appointed. As I have said, we in the Government believe that the decision of the Committee yesterday emasculated the Bill. We now lodge our objection and our opposition to the amendment but knowing that the Country Party, the Democratic Labor Party and the Liberal Party will combine to vote against us I do not intend to divide the House.

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