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Friday, 19 November 1965

Mr BEAZLEY (Fremantle) .- The Opposition supports the Bill. We also express the hope that annual reports of the progress of the research financed by this Bill - if it is not already covered under the reports of the Australian Universities Commission - when it becomes an act will be presented to the Parliament. The findings of research financed in this way by the Australian community are made freely available to all mankind through publication. It is regrettable that Australian industry is not noteworthy for being the first to apply these findings. It is more regrettable that Australian industry does not finance research itself on anything like an adequate scale when compared with other countries. This legislation represents Commonweath and State action as very much responsible for scientific research.

Commonwealth action is now building up a pyramid of scientific training. Science laboratories in the secondary schools are the base. Institutes of technology are the body and university research is the apex. The remaining necessity is only an intensification of what is being done. We require an elaboration of the methods by which we discover from the secondary school onwards those students most likely to succeed in scientific research; and finally, we require the development by the Commonwealth of science as an adjunct to foreign policy and Territories policy. By the latter comment I refer to such things as the deliberate sponsoring of scientific research to meet the needs pf under-developed countries and our own Territories and the training of scientific workers from under-developed countries and our own Territories.

We also need a flexible scheme to sponsor more of our own skilled people to visit countries which may be most advanced in certain aspects of scientific research and to participate in research where their speciality is most advanced. A social revolution is being produced by technology, scholarships and the increasing accessibility of university and advanced education. In a sense, research grants are an advanced form of scholarship. The Opposition does not feel that the Commonwealth should be over-enamoured of the concept of matching grants expressed in this Bill. I am fully aware that scientific research is not mentioned in the Constitution, but in the modern world it has become a national necessity and responsibility. It is splendid if the States contribute, but independent action by the Commonwealth should never be inhibited. With those remarks, the Bill is welcomed.

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