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Wednesday, 12 September 1984
Page: 875


Senator RYAN (Minister for Education and Youth Affairs)(12.04) —The Opposition's amendment is not acceptable to the Government. I remind--


Senator Peter Baume —We have told you that there is no amendment.


Senator RYAN —Really, Mr Temporary Chairman, how far do we have to tolerate this pedantry? The Government will not accept the wish of the Opposition to retain section 32A in the legislation. Since reference has been made to the view of the Australian National University Council, I will read again from the letter which I read earlier from Professor Peter Karmel, the Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University, who wrote to Dr Wilenski on 17 May 1983 in the following terms:

. . . to inform the Minister that, in the opinion of the council, the return to the situation that existed before 1979--

a move supported by the Council-

would necessitate the Government to amend the ANU Act by removing both Section 29A and Section 23A .

It is the Government's intention to return to the situation in place prior to the introduction of the restrictive Fraser amendments and in order to do so in a coherent fashion we will-as it is the opinion of the Council of the ANU that we ought to-remove section 32A. There is no need for section 32A, which offers guarantees against discrimination, because the institutions themselves have developed appropriate procedures to guarantee a student's protection against discrimination. Senator Rae will be aware of that. In fact, he adverted today to the very lengthy and thorough work of the ANU Council in developing such procedures. I place on record my appreciation of the work of the Council and of Senator Rae in developing those procedures. I do not think that Senator Teague has any criticism of the procedures developed, nor would he have about the procedures developed at the Canberra College of Advanced Education if he were equally well informed about that parallel situation. So the right to be protected against discrimination, which we all want to see, is now guaranteed by procedures within the ANU and therefore section 32A is no longer necessary. It is also the opinion of the Council of the ANU that section 32A ought to be removed.


Senator Peter Rae —To implement the Government's policy. It is prefaced by ' implementing the Government's policy', then that follows.


Senator RYAN —It is certainly our policy to do that, and we are happy that the Council is in accord with our policy.


Senator Peter Rae —Would you read the words again?


Senator RYAN —I will start from the the first sentence:

Further to my letter of 6 April 1983 I write to tell you that the Council of the University at its meeting on Friday 13 May 1983 welcomed the initiative of the Government . . .

That wording does not suggest that as it is being inflicted on the Council, it has to give some advice. It welcomed the initiative. The letter goes on to advise how the initiative ought to be implemented, and says:

. . . to inform the Minister that, in the opinion of the Council, the return to the situation that existed before 1979--

something that the Council welcomed-

would necessitate the Government to amend the ANU Act by removing both Section 29A and Section 32A.

We are proceeding to do that.