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Friday, 15 May 1970

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) -I did see the correspondence in the newspaper and the prior article as well as a statement by the President of the Students Representative Council suggesting that the Government had rejected completely out of hand a request for an increase in student representation. This is not quite a correct statement of the position. A large number of suggested amendments to the statute of the University were put forward to the Government by the Council of the University. I restrict my remarks to those dealing with student representation. In the result, the Government decided to bring before the Parliament amendments which would liberalise the conditions on which undergraduate students could go on to the Council, and to increase the representation. In particular it was decided to reduce the age of a person eligible to sit on the Council from 21 years, as it is at present, to 18 years and also to eliminate another existing requirement, namely, that a representative of the undergraduates should himself be a graduate. This will permit undergraduates to sit on the Council. It was decided also to increase the student representation by appointing the President of the Students Representative Council ex-officio to the Council of the University in addition to the existing elected member that the students have. This means that they would have 2 representatives.

It is true that in the recommendations of the Council there was a suggestion for a further elected member. This would have made a total of 3. That recommendation was not accepted by the Government. On the other hand, I would point out that in a Council which, if these amendments are accepted, will number 41 people there is no question of voting blocs or anything of that kind. I suggest that the strength of representation will depend upon the calibre and quality of the representatives of the undergraduates. I have no reason to suppose that they will not be very strongly and well represented.

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