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Monday, 23 March 1987
Page: 1182

Senator RYAN (Minister for Education)(10.52) —In the adjournment debate tonight Senator Teague raised a lot of issues surrounding the development of policy which enables parents of 16- and 17-year-old students eligible for Austudy to redirect the payment to themselves starting from the second term of this year. Many of Senator Teague's comments were misguided and misinformed. I will arrange for a complete account of the policy development and all the issues surrounding it to be made available to Senator Teague.

Senator Kilgariff drew to my attention-I must say that it had not been drawn to my attention before-the contents of an orientation week publication produced, I gathered from his remarks, by the Australian National University Students Association. While not condoning in any way the contents of the publication as they were described by Senator Kilgariff, I point out to him that there is no appropriate way in which a Commonwealth Minister for Education can censor a publication that comes from a body within an autonomous institution. If Senator Kilgariff has concerns about this publication, and I can understand that he has, I believe that he should take those concerns directly to the publishers of the handbook-the student union itself-and discuss his concern with it. Also, he may wish to pursue the matter with the governing council of the Australian National University, on which I believe the Opposition has a representative member. I remind Senator Kilgariff that it is a tradition in this country, pursued by both parties when in office, that universities are autonomous institutions and their publications are matters for internal decision-making and not for Federal censorship. However, if he pursues the course of action that I have advocated, he may get some satisfactory result.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 10.53 p.m.