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Wednesday, 12 September 1984
Page: 876

Senator TEAGUE(12.09) —I welcome the Minister's constructive approach to this clause, in deference to the rather provocative overstatement that led to the debate of the last hour. Whilst we can all make fine points about whether the Council of the Australian National University in concurring is just accepting that it is government policy and does not wish to argue about it, to take Senator Macklin's point, and whilst the exchange between the Minister and Senator Rae was also a matter for fine points, the main point I sought to make was that the Minister is not offended by any particular phrase or sentence in the Australian National University Amendment Bill but is saying that because the University has provided for each and every one of these matters as a result of its own decisions, there is no need for section 32A. Therefore, I only make the point that whilst we are all wanting to see the same goal achieved the University Council may have a different majority in the future and so not concur any longer with this contract, if you like, between the present University Council and the Government as expressed in this letter. If there is a regression in the future and the public-particularly the student body-becomes alarmed because a particular student's conscientiousness leads him to be not enrolled or admitted, or his academic progress not proceeded with, there will be those in the student body who will say that a guarantee at a higher level, in the Act itself, would have prevented that.

I speak on that very narrow ground at the moment and, noting that the Minister has not disagreed with any part of section 32A, argue that section 32A be retained so that in future years it will not be up to the mood or particular majority of the Council at that time but rather that there be a guarantee of these freedoms in the Act itself. I urge, then, that the Minister retain section 32A.