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Wednesday, 21 November 1973
Page: 2006


Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - This amendment merely relates to a difference of view as to which is the better choice of words. The question is whether the word 'conducting' should be used or whether the words suggested by Senator Rae, 'responsible for or connected with', should be inserted in lieu thereof.


Senator Rae - It was regarded as a matter of some moment by some of the people concerned who made representations to me.


Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I assume that the Opposition regards it as important because it has moved the amendment. The Bill proposes that the Commission shall consult with authorites actually conducting nongovernment schools. The intention of the amendment appears to be to provide for consultation with persons having a less direct responsibility for those schools. If the intention is that the Commission's consultations in respect of Roman Catholic schools are to be with the hierarchy rather than with the school authorities, the Government must reject the concept. The words in clause 13(4) (a) of the Bill permit consultation with other bodies and persons but require consultation with those who actually conduct the non-government schools. I am reminded that in legislation brought down by the previous Government, namely, the States Grants (Schools) Act of 1972, a number of definitions were inserted and the definition of school authority in that Act in relation to a non-government school means the person or body conducting the school. There is likewise somewhere in that legislation a definition so far as public schools are concerned. But certainly the word 'conducting' was used in the definitive section of that legislation introduced by the previous Government. We have adopted that attitude in this case. We believe therefore that this amendment relates to a mere choice of words. We believe that the word conducting' is much more suitable than the words Senator Rae proposed. I suppose it is a matter of choice. However, bearing in mind that this matter comes within the overall functions of the Commission, we do not accept the proposition and intend to record our vote by way of voices against it.







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