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Wednesday, 3 December 1986
Page: 3244

Senator MACKLIN(12.16) —I probably could agree with the last reason that the Minister for Education (Senator Ryan) gave-that we would have to change the software. But we could probably get that done free of charge if the Minister really wanted to. The other comments do not bear much looking at. The costs of changing the software would be almost minimal. The vast bulk of students pay on time on entry. We are talking only about a small number of people. We already have difficulties with a small number and, under my proposal, we would be in difficulties with a small number. I do not believe the Yes, Minister response is reasonable in terms of the problems these students are facing. The marginal additional cost that would have to be borne would easily be justified in terms of the excessively bad Press that Australia has been receiving in overseas countries. As the Minister has already pointed out, we are still subsidising these students to the tune of 55 per cent but that does not seem to be having much effect on the type of image that we have managed to create over the deportations. My interest is both to alleviate the burden on the students and, more particularly, to avoid the unseemly circumstances of jettisoning students who have come here to study and the effect that that has on our relationships with their countries.