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Wednesday, 21 November 1973
Page: 1993

Senator MILLINER (Queensland) - Again tonight we have heard Senator Rae saying on behalf of his Party some tilings about the Government and the allegations that the Government has made about members of the Opposition in regard to this Bill. I think it is important that we place on record some of the things that have been said. I suggest that this amendment does nothing to improve the structure of the Bill. When we hear Senator Rae say that no members of the Opposition have ever said one word about this Bill, it is rather nauseating to read what they have said. I want to refer, if I may, to some of those things. I refer to what was said on this matter by Mr Giles, the honourable member for Angas in the other place. On page 934 of Hansard he reported as having said, straight out: 1 warn to say right from the word go that I am against the establishment of an Australian Schools Commission for very many reasons. The first reason I put forward to the House is the problem of centralised control. I do not think it is in the best interests of education as such to have this device which purports to produce priorities of expenditure within the schooling systems in Australia, centralised in Canberra.

In other words, he bitterly opposed this legislation and the establishment of the Schools Commission.

Senator Rae - What page are you reading from?

Senator MILLINER - I will go a little further. At page 935 Mr Giles is reported as having said:

I say that in contradistinction to the centralised view of an Australian Schools Commission. I think it would be a move in the wrong direction.

That was what Mr Giles said and he is a fairly important member of the Liberal Party.

Senator Rae - I rise to take a point of order. I asked from what page of Hansard the honourable senator was quoting. I believe that if quotations are to be given they should be specified clearly.

Senator MILLINER - I thought I did so. I referred to page 934 and page 935 of the debate in the other place on 21 March 1972. 1 will be quite happy, Mr Chairman, to table the reference if requested to do so. Let us consider what was said by Mr Nigel Drury. I use the christian name, Mr Chairman, for identification purposes. At page 929 of Hansard he was reported as having said:

Each State government has the right to determine its own priorities and it is clear from the records that most State governments give education a high priority. That is fortunate.

Whether this would continue under a centralised system of education such as that advocated by the Australian Labor Party amendment in terms of setting up an Australian Schools Commission is, I believe, extremely doubtful.

Senator Rae - What is the relevance of that to this particular amendment?

Senator MILLINER - It is not relevant at all! That is right. Let me refer to what was said by Senator Carrick.

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