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Wednesday, 13 June 1984
Page: 2939


Senator PETER BAUME(4.44) —by leave-I move:

(1) Page 7, clause 23, proposed paragraph 14B (2) (c), line 28, leave out '5', insert '3'.

(2) Page 7, clause 23, proposed sub-section 14B (2), after paragraph (c), insert the following new paragraph:

(ca) 1 member to represent the interests of non-government schools, selected and nominated by the Minister from nominations by bodies and authorities representing non-government schools, and 1 member to represent the interests of government schools, selected and nominated by the Minister from nominations by bodies and authorities representing government schools;'.

Both amendments seek to amend clause 23 which deals with the composition of the Curriculum Development Council. As Senator Macklin has stated during the second reading debate, the new Council is different in many ways from the Curriculum Development Centre when it existed as a statutory body. It now has a chairman who is a full time Commonwealth schools commissioner; it previously had a director. It now has three members nominated by the Minister, those members being Commonwealth Schools Commission members; I believe previously there were two such members. It has such number of further members nominated by the Minister, not being more than five as the Minister determines, the number was previously between four and nine. It now nominates four members from the Australian Education Council, that is the Commonwealth-State ministerial body or its representatives; there were previously three. One member is to be permanent head or Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education and Youth Affairs; that is unchanged.

The Council as it is proposed provides places as of right for the Commonwealth Schools Commission both for a full time commissioner and for three other Commission members. It provides places as of right for members of the Australian Education Council, some nominees having expertise in curriculum development matters for schools and two other members from the Australian Education Council and it provides a place as of right to a senior member of the Department, either the Secretary or Deputy Secretary. The Opposition has no argument with those provisions, but because issues of curriculum development involve everyone in the area of education, and particularly those across all schools, we would like to see that representation is provided as of right for representatives of both government and non-government schools. To do this, the two amendments which we propose are necessary.

We propose that instead of an extra number not being more than five, that number be not more than three, thus providing two positions. We would then allocate, as stated in the terms of the amendment:

1 member to represent the interests of non-government schools, selected and nominated by the Minister from nominations by bodies and authorities representing non-government schools, and 1 member to represent the interests of government schools, selected and nominated by the Minister from nominations by bodies and authorities representing government schools.

We believe that it is desirable, as of right, in the same way as the Minister has seen fit to provide places as of right for certain bodies, that there should be places on this Curriculum Development Council for those representing government and non-government school interests. Matters of curriculum development are important, as all honourable senators will agree. We would like to see the Council constituted in such a way that all those who are likely to have a working interest in curriculum and a desire to see curriculum implemented in their own sectors have a place on the Council. Of course, it is possible for the Minister to appoint people from these sectors, but they are not provided with places as of right. We believe that if the Minister is going to have these people on the Council anyhow, she has nothing to lose by acceding to our amendments which merely provide that there will always be someone on the Council representing government and non-government school interests. The two amendments seem moderate and reasonable and I commend them to the Committee.