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Thursday, 21 May 1970

Mr CONNOR (Cunningham) - I do not wish to delay the House, but I should like to make a few comments about this measure. I noted with interest the remarks of the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley). While I applaud his laudable sentiments about the establishment of colleges and their endowment, there is a word to be said for another type of university quite distinct from the cloistered ivy clad college in the tradition of Cambridge and Oxford. I refer to Wollongong University College, which could be categorised as a red brick university along the lines of what is so typical in the more densely settled parts of England, where the local university or university college does not strictly need residential colleges because it caters for a densely populated compact local area. That precisely is the situation with the Wollongong University College. While there is an undoubted case for the endowment and construction of colleges of the types envisaged in this measure, there is at the same time a very real need for the red brick universities to get their share of Commonwealth funds. The Wollongong University College has a student enrolment of between 1,300 and 1,400. lt is unique in that more than 50% of the students enrolled - 'by far the highest percentage of any university or university college - are part time students. This itself reflects the character of the area which is underprivileged in terms of average family income. If it were not for the existence of that local university college it would not be possible for the sons and daughters of many workers to live at home, work part time and go along to the university college part time to acquire a tertiary education. I know from my own experiences the advantages of a higher education and what I missed by not having the opportunity to go to a university. I had to be supported by my mother who is a dressmaker and I know what I missed. But even to go to the universities in Sydney was beyond the financial competence of 95% of the families within my area and still is.

We need in our particular area autonomy; we are a vassal university college at the present time in tutelage to the University of New South Wales. There is a clamant demand for autonomy and there is an equally clamant demand for all the barest essentials of universities. In particular we have a wholly inadequate library; we have wholly inadequate laboratories. Through the whole range of faculties we are, in almost every respect, just as under-privileged as the people in the area. I suggest to the Minister at the table that he might give a pretty sharp nod to the Australian Universities Commission to see that we get our fair share of the loot from the University of New South Wales. We are on the thin end of the ration financially from the Kensington University and the sooner we are severed from them and the sooner wc can speak in our own right and get our own direct allocation the better it will be for tertiary education in the area.

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