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Monday, 6 December 2004
Page: 111


Senator ALLISON (8:59 PM) —by leave—I move Democrat amendments (4) and (7) on sheet 4436 revised:

(4) Clause 16, page 20 (lines 28 to 30), omit subclause (2).

(7) Clause 23, page 26 (lines 4 and 5), omit subclause (2).

Democrat amendments (4) and (7) remove the two clauses in this bill which allow the minister to make other conditions as he or she thinks appropriate in relation to the financial conditions that might be set for schools. We cannot see the point of spelling out conditions and then having a final one that says that the minister can do anything he or she likes anyway. In fact, there are a number of these throughout the bill which we have opposed. We think that, if the government wants to set extra conditions, it ought to come back to the parliament and make it clear what they are and allow the parliament to debate that and make a decision one way or the other. These conditions might mean anything. This is pretty much an open cheque. This is pretty much saying to schools: `Watch out! The minister doesn't need to get permission from the parliament to do this.' I can imagine all sorts of threats being levelled at schools or at teachers or at school principals—or at anybody else, really—and there is no need for there to be such an open-ended opportunity for the minister to change whatever he or she wants to change. In fact, the minister might be able to tell us why this is necessary—what sorts of conditions might arise that have not been thought about thus far and why such broad, wide-ranging powers are now necessary.