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Tuesday, 5 June 1984
Page: 2491


Senator PETER BAUME —I draw the attention of the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs to a newspaper report of a call by the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations for the removal of Dr Peter Tannock, Chairman of the Commonwealth Schools Commission, a call made by Mrs Shirly Berg. I shall quote part of the Mercury report as the Minister does not seem to be aware of it. It reads:

We believe that if Professor Tannock cannot work within the Act, then the Federal Government should look to his removal.

That is a quotation of Mrs Berg's words. Without inviting comment on the call, I ask the Minister: Will she express her full confidence in Dr Peter Tannock as Chairman of the Commonwealth Schools Commission? Will she put an end to any rumours that there are moves, or that there is any intention, either to undermine his authority or to remove him before his allotted term ends?


Senator RYAN —I was not aware of that call by the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations as quoted by Senator Baume, but I am happy to confirm my confidence in the Chairman of the Commonwealth Schools Commission, Peter Tannock , and to report that I have had the most constructive working relationship with Dr Tannock and with the Commission generally. I would add that attacks on individual members of the Commission from different sectors seem to be an ongoing feature in public education debates. Members of the Opposition expressed a great deal of criticism and complaint when I made certain appointments to the Commission. I think in some cases those criticisms have disappeared entirely. Generally speaking, it seems to me that the education community and those who take an interest in education policy are, by and large, pleased with the efforts of the Commission. Certainly there have been criticisms of individual recommendations in the report but, overall, I am happy to say that I believe the Commission collectively, under the chairmanship of Peter Tannock, is working extremely well and constructively in a difficult and complicated area.