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Thursday, 11 October 1973
Page: 2029


Mr BEAZLEY (Fremantle) (Minister for Education) - I would like to express my appreciation of the courtesy of disagreement of the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser). I must therefore pay him the equal courtesy of explaining why the amendment he has moved is unacceptable.


Mr Malcolm Fraser - You have done that.


Mr BEAZLEY - No, I have not. This is a point that I have not made. To begin with the honourable member said that there shall be only one full time member of the Schools Commission whereas we suggest that there should be four. When the honourable member suggested that originally he said: 'Why do you not follow the analogy of the Universities Commission and the Commission on Advanced Education which have only one full time member?' May I therefore turn on him his erstwhile argument. There are 10,000 schools and only 22 universities in Australia. If the process of consultation with State governments is to take place there must be a number of members who are giving their full time to the work of the Commission and who can travel around the country consulting people.

I am tired of the accusation about consultation because this accusation was also thrown at Karmel. I invite the honourable member for Wannon to turn to appendix C of the Karmel Committee report and to have a look at the consultation that was carried out by the Interim Schools Committee. He will see that every State government through its director of education was consulted. There were 6 or 7 figures from the Federal Catholic Schools Committee; 5 representatives from the National Council of Independent Schools; 5 from the Council for the Defence of Government Schools; 3 from the Commonwealth Secondary Schools Libraries Committee and 2 from the Commonwealth Committee on Facilities for Non-Government Schools. The Committee also held discussions with the teacher organisations from Papua New Guinea, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory as well as from Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland. Discussions were held with the Technical Teachers Association, the Victorian Teachers Union and the New South Wales Teachers Federation. Many of the people consulted had multiple representation. The Committee held discussions with 4 representatives of the Australian Parents

Council. It also consulted with 4 representatives from the Australian Council of State School Organisations. The Committee met with 5 members of the Australian Council for Rehabilitation of the Disabled - the National Committee on Education. This group included some of the most distinguished experts in the world on the education of handicapped such as Professor Marie Neale. There were 2 representatives of the Australian College of Education.

There was massive consultation. It is an untrue charge to say that the Interim Committee did not consult people and just made ad hoc decisions. The witnesses who came and sometimes gave entire days of their time, included some of the most distinguished figures in education in this country. One has only to look at the list of witnesses to know that this would be so and that every element of education was represented - .the Catholic schools, the non-government schools and the independent schools. They represented any field of education that the honourable member for Wannon would like to name. There is not the slightest doubt that consultation continuously will take place. But if it is to take place I think that we must have more than one full time member of the Commission. To restrict the Commission to one full time member seems to me to be a grave mistake.







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