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Wednesday, 3 April 1957

Mr PETERS (Scullin) .- There was. of course, a time in the history of this country when there were no such things as rights of appeal in our public services and in our departments of education. Rights of appeal were brought into being in 'he various public services, and in the education sphere outside the universities, in relation to appointments to positions, and everybody agreed that it was quite right that such rights of appeal should exist. I do not know much about the Queensland legislation.

Mr Wight - Then why are you talking about it.

Mr PETERS - That is all right. I know enough of the general principle to point out that the view being enunciated by honorable members opposite is contrary to every ethic of democracy, and contrary to the best interests of education in this country.

Mr Howson - Nonsense!

Mr PETERS - " Nonsense ", the honorable member says. Why should there he a university senate whose decisions are not subject to appeal?

Mr Roberton - Why should there be a university al all?

Mr PETERS - Our friend, the Minister for Social Services, asks why there should be a university. 1 agree that there should be a university, but I believe that the prejudices that are inherent in honorable gentlemen opposite also exist in members oi a university senate. I believe that the possession by members of a university senate of certain academic degrees does not render their verdicts unchallengable. I believe that education in universities, because of the power of some particular individual to invite this or that person to occupy a position in the university, has not been conducive to democratic education in this country. Of course, the object of this debate is merely to attack the Queensland Government, when that Government, which has at its disposal all the facts in connexion with the issue, is not in a position to answer.

Mr Cleaver - The honorable member ls not talking about the Public Service.

Mr PETERS - I am certainly not talking about the Public Service.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! I ask honorable gentlemen on my right to cease interjecting, and 1 ask the honorable member for Scullin to direct his remarks to the Chair.

Mr PETERS - As I pointed out before, the position in the Public Service at one time was that there was no right of appeal. The introduction of the right of appeal destroyed nepotism and favoritism in the Public Service, which were to the detriment of the people, of good government and the effective and efficient administration of government in this country. Who is there to-day who says that there are some people whose edict shall not be subject to appeal? 1 say that, after all. the Queensland Government has had reason for the introduction of the legislation referred to. and it is ali eyewash for anybody to propound, as a general principle, as has been propounded here, that a practice which is applicable in the departments of education of every State, and in the Commonwealth Public Service and the Public Service of every State should not be applicable to a university.

In reality, of course, the arguments advanced to-night against appeals from the decision of the Senate of the University of Queensland are the arguments that were advanced in every department of education throughout Australia against appeals from the decisions of directors of education in relation to appointments. One argument was, " It is impossible to have the best educational system in this country if our verdicts as to who is to occupy A, B, C, D and E positions in the educational establishments of this State are to be challenged ". They have been challenged. In many cases they have been upset, often to the advantage of education throughout this country. Because of that, the application of the same principle to a university, despite the fact that universities and those who control them wish to segregate themselves behind some kind of iron curtain, is sound.

Mr Cleaver Mr. Cleaverinterjecting,

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member for Swan will remain silent.

Mr PETERS - I submit that I have completely destroyed the arguments advanced by the honorable member for Petrie (Mr. Hulme) on this subject.

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