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Monday, 15 October 1973
Page: 2070


Mr BEAZLEY (Fremantle) (Minister for Education) - The amendment is an extraordinarily limited one because if these were all the organisations with which the Commission were to consult there wouldbe a pathetically inadequate amount of consultation taking place. I do not know whether the honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar) happens to have seen the list of people who will be either on the Schools Commission or the continuing committee, according to the fate of our Bill in the Senate, but will be aware that the list includes persons associated with the Australian Council of State School Organisations, the Catholic Parents and Friends Association - Mr McNamara in the latter case and Mrs Kirner in the former - and also the headmaster of one of the Greater Public Schools, Mr Peter Moyes of Christ Church Grammar in Western Australia, and so on. I am sorry that the honourable gentleman regards me as such an object of suspicion that he wishes to have spelt out everybody with whom the Commission will consult. If he looks at the list of people who had access to the Interim Committee he will find that it includes people from all these organisations and many more.

The function of the Schools Commission is to be the recipient of representations from all sorts of organisations. The function of the Advisory Boards in their localities is to be a local organ of intelligence and to transmit information to the Schools Commission to make sure that it knows what is being demanded by all sorts of people who are giving thought to education in the States and in areas geographically remote from Canberra.


Mr MacKellar - 'Does that mean that any submissions to the Schools Commission must come through the Advisory Boards?


Mr BEAZLEY - No, but it may be easier for some people to have a full discussion with the local boards and for them to transmit the information to the Schools Commission. Some people may wish to write directly to the Schools Commission. Some people may be coming to Canberra on deputations and may go straight to the Schools Commission. I hope that some of the representations from the Council for the Defence of Government Schools will be absorbed by the buffer - the boards in the States - in addition to the Schools Commission being deluged with representations.

We do envisage a flexible organisation, which is what the Karmel Committee recommended. But in no legislation is every possible element that will make representations spelt out. It was not done in the Universities Commission legislation. It was not done in the legislation which established the Commission on Advanced Education. It is not done anywhere. I feel that it is unnecessary. I do not object to all these elements making their representations. If the Bill specified only the elements named in the amendment, it would be very limited. I agree with the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser), who said that the amendments being moved in this chamber would require a lot of polishing before they could really become a part of an Act. I hope that the polishing which honourable gentlemen opposite have threatened will eventuate in the Senate will be a very adequate polishing and that we will not have the sorts of amendments that have been moved in this place. I do not think this amendment has been fully thought out and I would prefer to leave the clause as it is.







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