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Wednesday, 12 September 1984
Page: 875

Senator PETER BAUME(11.59) —Clause 23 seeks to repeal section 32A of the Act which prevents retribution for non-membership of student organisations. I put it to the Committee and I put it to Senator Macklin in terms of the arguments he has advanced that now we have been assured that there is voluntary membership of student organisations there can be no reason to want to repeal that section which prevents retribution for non-membership. The Government has given no coherent reason for wishing to repeal the clause which prevents retribution for non-membership. If membership is voluntary, there can be no coherent argument against leaving that provision in the Act. Section 32A provides no disability. The desire to remove the section is an admission of the possibility of institutions wishing to take retribution.

Senator Georges —No.

Senator PETER BAUME —I am sorry, but there is no coherent reason to take this section out of the Act if membership is going to be voluntary. Section 32A merely provides that retribution cannot be taken against people. I suggest there is no reason for supporting this clause which seeks to remove that provision.

We oppose clause 23 for the simple reason that there is no coherent argument for the removal of section 32A. We now know that the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs (Senator Ryan) was not being strictly accurate when she said that the institution had requested these changes. Since what she said has now been demonstrated to be false she should not try that argument on us. The fact is there is no coherent reason why the Committee should agree to the repeal of this section. I indicate that the Opposition will oppose the repeal of the section.