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Wednesday, 6 May 1987
Page: 2742

Mr WRIGHT(7.12) —The honourable member for Fisher (Mr Slipper), who has just resumed his seat, presented to this chamber his approach to the statistical argument that is being waged, I suppose, in many areas of Queensland. We constantly hear the claim that the Hawke Government has not been making the same moneys available to Queensland as it makes available to other States. I challenge those figures. We have seen massive increases in my State of Queensland. In fact, this very day I received notification from the Minister for Education (Senator Ryan) advising of special funding that is going to be made available to our tertiary institutions, four of which were named. The amount in question is $168,000. The total expenditure for Australia to enable those with disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue tertiary studies is $1m. Queensland requires or demands about 16 per cent of funds that are made available. If honourable members work it out, they will find that $168,000 out of $1m is 16.8 per cent. So, in this instance, Queensland has received 16.8 per cent of the total allocation, which is in line with the commitment of this Government to be fair on a State to State basis. It is not a matter of trying to assist or disadvantage one State against the other. When one sits down and works out the figures in respect of this typical example of which I was advised only today, one finds that Queensland will receive 16.8 per cent, or $168,000, out of a total budget of $1m.

I want to develop some points before the debate is interrupted. I want to refer to a speech which the Minister for Education made recently when she was opening some new school extensions. She said that when we in the Labor Party, particularly in the Hawke Government, talk of education in Australia-this is from our point of view-we talk about a partnership. That is a partnership between the Commonwealth Government and State governments, non-government and state school authorities, parents and teachers, and schools and the communities they serve. Senator Ryan went on to say that partnership is the way that the Hawke Government does business, and that the Hawke Government is a very active partner in education activity in this nation. I intend to develop that statement because it is true and it has been proven by our performance in dollar terms. That is what it comes back to. It is all very well to have policies and philosophies and to make great statements when it comes to putting forward party documents. But the real test is when one has the opportunity to spend the money.

Debate interrupted.