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Tuesday, 12 September 1972
Page: 679

Senator GIETZELT (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science aware of a statement made by the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Anthony, that as the Australian Broadcasting Commission uses public moneys it must accept public responsibility and scrutiny? Has he noted the annual report of the Department of Education and Science, issued by the Authority of the Minister, Mr Malcolm Fraser, which reveals that during 1971 $24m was paid by the Commonwealth to independent schools? Can the Senate be informed whether the same public scrutiny that is applied to the ABC is given to those funds? Is the Minister able to assure the Senate that the money expended by the Commonwealth has been used solely in the furtherance of education and is based on the needs of education?

Senator WRIGHT - I take up the trend of the honourable senator's argument. I would have thought that it was fairly clear that the expenditure of public money by a public authority such as the Australian Broadcasting Commission was at all times subject to the processes of the Audit Act, which means a demanding security of every detail of the expenditure. The Senate can be assured that the arrangements made by the Minister for Education and Science with regard to expenditure on aid to independent schools, although not invoking the provisions of the Audit Act of the Commonwealth, are such that the moneys paid to independent schools are faithfully paid for the purpose of school buildings and education.

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