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Wednesday, 8 May 1985
Page: 1522

Senator REID —My question is to the Minister for Education. Did Dr Richard Campbell, Chairman of the Australian Capital Territory Schools Authority, criticise the recent announcement that the Authority was to be restructured and reduced in size, that it was to have a full time chairman and that certain matters would be devolved from the Authority to schools? Did he base his criticism on failure to consult adequately with the Authority? Why was there inadequate consultation with the Australian Capital Territory Schools Authority on this matter affecting the Authority's form and functions?

Senator RYAN —Richard Campbell, the outgoing Chairman of the Schools Authority, spent some time in my office last night where he communicated to me his views on the discussion paper which has been circulated. His views were numerous and he expressed them at some length. I certainly would not attempt to synthesise them in a succinct answer to Senator Reid's question, but I do not accept that there has not been sufficient consultation. Certainly the Authority was consulted by my Department in preparing a paper in response to the issues and options paper. But I should make it clear to Senator Reid, as I know that she has a very genuine and proper interest in this matter, that we are still at the stage of consultation and that the paper that has been put out is, if you like, a refinement of the issues and options paper but certainly does not present any final decisions. Questions such as whether it would be more appropriate to have a full time or part time chairperson are still open. I can see arguments both ways. I think that Dr Campbell himself has experienced some difficulties, being part time in an area that is so publicly visible and, I guess inevitably, so controversial. The question as to whether there should be a full time or part time chairperson is still open in my mind and in the Government's mind. I would be very interested to hear from Senator Reid, who I know is very actively involved in education matters in this Territory, her views, as I can assure her I have heard those of Dr Campbell very recently.