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Wednesday, 5 December 1973
Page: 2506


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - Order! This is not a debate between the 2 honourable senators from either side of the House. Senator Rae has the floor.


Senator RAE - Thank you, Mr Temporary Chairman. Senator James McClelland comes in here occasionlly listens to little of what is being said, then interjects. He had the hide to stand in this place a little while ago and say that no proof has been given of what was in the Government's policy speech and no proof had been given of any statement after September 1972 by any of the people concerned. For his benefit, and for the benefit of people listening to this debate, I think it is important that I say again that promises were made by Mr Beazley himself one month after his September speech in the House Representatives. A month after that speech he said:

Whispering campaigns to the contrary, no private school under Labor will in future get less than the per capita grant it gets now.

That was a month after the September debate. If the best that the Government can do is to rely on the September 1972 debate in which there was no statement that anybody would get nothing, that per-capita grants would be cut out, and it wishes to ignore totally the written statements of Mr Beazley and the Prime Minister made many dmes after that debate, then people can judge the Government on that basis.

I wish to reassert the philosophy of the Opposition. Our philosophy is that there should be a freedom of choice. Our philosophy is that it is important in a free society that people be able to make a choice as to what school, what system of school and what type of education they wish their children to receive. To enable them to exercise that right of choice it is necessary that people from the poorest to the richest should be able, if they wish, to choose a non-government school which provides the type of education they want. Many people have a philosophy which is not related to religion but to an approach to education. They believe that the modern or progressive type of education is best for their children. Parents, such as the parents of the children at the Australian International Independent school in Sydney, the Brisbane Independent Primary School and many of the other independent schools which are getting reduced aid or are not getting any aid, wish to send their children to those schools. They are not rich people. Most of them are of modest means. The mothers often have to work in order to be able to pay the fees. This Government would take any grant away from those children because it wishes to stick rigidly to some demonstrably unsatisfactory hard line system of categorisation on the basis of wanting to apply some indefinite needs principle. Therefore I move:

That the House of Representatives be requested to make the following amendment:

Leave out the sub-clause ( 5 ), insert the following sub-clause: "(5) There is payable to a State under this section, in respect of each year to which this Act applies, by way of financial assistance to the State in respect of recurrent expenditure of each non-systemic school in the State-

(a)   in the case of the year commencing on 1 January 1974-

(i)   if the school is a non-government primary schoolan amount equal to the product of the amount specified in column 2 of Table 3 in Schedule 2 opposite to the category specified in column 1 in which the school is included and the number of pupils receiving primary education at the school on the date in that year that is the schools census date for that State for that year; and

(ii)   if the school is a non-government secondary school- an amount equal to the product of the amount specified in column 3 of Table 3 in Schedule 2 opposite to the category specified in column 1 in which the school is included and the number of pupils receiving secondary education at the school on the date in that year that is the schools census date for that State for that year,

(b)   in the case ofthe year commencing on 1 January 1975-

(i)   if the school is a non-government primary schoolan amount equal to the product of the amount specified in column 4 of Table 3 in Schedule 2 opposite to the category specified in column 1 in which the school is included and the number of pupils receiving primary education at the school on the date in that year that is the schools census date for that State for that year, and

(ii)   if the school is a non-government secondary school- an amount equal to the product of the amount specified in column 5 of Table 3 in Schedule 2 opposite to the category specified in column 1 in which the school is included and the number of pupils receiving secondary education at the school on the date in that year that is the schools census date for that State for that year; and

(c)   such further amounts as will ensure that, notwithstanding the foregoing or any other provisions of this Act-

(i)   a sum of $62 in respect of every pupil receiving primary education at a non-government primary school on the date in that year that is the schools census date for that State for that year; and

(ii)   a sum of $104 in respect of every pupil receiving secondary education at a non-government secondary school on the date in that year that is the schools census date for that State for that year, is payable to the school authority of the school. ' '.







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