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Friday, 1 June 1984
Page: 2372

Senator PETER BAUME —My question to the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs concerns the recent granting of a pay increase for academics by the Academic Salaries Tribunal. Was the claim within the guidelines of the wages and prices accord? Why is the Government now proposing to rat on its side of the bargain by not agreeing to abide immediately by the umpire's decision? Does the Minister agree that the Government's approach to the Tribunal next week to delay the rise will mean that academic staff are being treated differently from other members of the work force? Did not the Government promise explicitly in its 1983 election policy not only to accept but also to fund determinations of the Academic Salaries Tribunal?

Senator RYAN —It is the case that the question of implementation of the Ludeke decision, as it has been called, which is a decision for a 5 per cent across the board increase for all academics working in colleges of advanced education and universities, is under consideration by the Government. The report has not yet been tabled, as the honourable senator would be aware. The Government is giving consideration to how it can best combine its responsibilities and commitments in the higher education field generally with a response to the decision taken by Mr Justice Ludeke. The matter is under consideration and when the Government tables that report its decision will be made known.

Senator PETER BAUME —I ask a supplementary question. I asked the Minister: Did not the Government's pre-election policy state explicitly that not only would it accept but also fund determinations of the Academic Salaries Tribunal? That is a simple matter. Is it not a fact that the Government at the moment is going back to the Tribunal to try to have the Tribunal's determination varied?

Senator RYAN —As I have said, the matter is under consideration. The question of the method and timing of the implementation of the decision is under consideration. When the Government has made a decision it will table the report and inform the Senate.