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Wednesday, 27 November 1996
Page: 6176

Senator CARR(6.23 p.m.) —Minister, the point is you were asked a direct question about the net effect of the budget measures. Your department indicates that the net effect of the budget measures is $128 million all up. You can try to confuse it by talking about whether or not these statements are in out-year prices or constant prices, but I understand that both figures are in constant prices. This figure relates to the total budget cuts for your department of $4.3 billion over the four years. But, in terms of school contributions to your total budget programs over the four years, there is only an additional $128 million going into the schools as a result of these budget measures.

So the answers you have been giving about an extra $2.3 billion are totally misleading. You have constantly, deliberately and repeatedly misled the Senate as to the result of this government's decisions in regard to spending for schools. You are seeking to mislead the Senate as to the effect of this EBA and the consequences of this EBA for the operations of the public education system in this country. You are seeking to present a picture which is not accurate, which does not reflect what is actually occurring.

What you are in fact presenting to this Senate is an acknowledgment that the total number of students in government schools can remain constant but they will still lose money under this proposal. There will be a shift. Your budget figures indicate that in every possible way.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator McKiernan) —Before I call the minister, Senator Carr, during your contribution you said that the minister had deliberately misled the Senate. That is unparliamentary, and I would ask you to withdraw it.

Senator CARR —I withdraw anything that is regarded as unparliamentary.