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Wednesday, 8 May 1985
Page: 1520

Senator TEAGUE —My question is directed to the Minister for Education. I refer to the annual census of schools, which provides essential data for administrators and policy makers, conducted previously by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in July and published before 30 November each year. Did the Minister take responsibility for this census from the ABS into her own portfolio, and did the Commonwealth Schools Commission conduct the survey in 1984? Why have the results of the 1984 survey not yet been published, more than five months after the normal deadline?

Senator RYAN —I will give Senator Teague a general answer, but would point out at the beginning that I am speaking from memory. I will seek more accurate and complete information for Senator Teague by the end of Question Time. My recollection is that the Australian Bureau of Statistics itself decided not to do the schools survey. The Department did not take it over; the Schools Commission took it over. However, because the Schools Commission has been suffering a bit of an administrative overload lately and has a backlog in a number of areas, my recollection is that it has not yet managed--

Opposition senators interjecting-

Senator RYAN —It is probably well known to the Senate that the Commission has been overburdened with administrative matters and has not been able to achieve total administrative efficiency in recent times. My recollection is that it has not yet been able to complete, and therefore make available, that information but, as I warned the Senate, I am speaking from memory and before the end of Question Time will try to get a more precise account of where the Commission is at with that survey.