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Tuesday, 4 December 1973
Page: 4186

Dr GUN (KINGSTON, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question, which concerns grants to the States for education, is directed to the Prime Minister. I ask: Would the retention of per capita grants to non-government schools require in addition to the Government's proposed expenditure an extra expenditure of Si 14m over 2 years? If the Government were required to find this money would it be found primarily by printing money or by raising taxation? If paper money were printed for the purpose, would it be possible to arrange to have the picture of the honourable member for Wannon included in the watermark to remind the bearer that it was truly funny money?

Mr WHITLAM - On the last part of the question, I think we still have to resolve who is the author of this scheme, the honourable member for Wannon, Senator Rae or the Leader of the Opposition. They all seem to pursue different policies on matters of education. It is very difficult to work out who are the Opposition spokesmen in this House or in the Senate. A/1 I can say at this stage is that the Opposition in this House opposed that clause of the States Grants (Schools) Bill which would have repealed the 1972 Act. If the Opposition's amendment had been carried and the Bill had gone through without repealing last year's Act, the additional expenditure involved on the part of the Commonwealth would be even greater than the amount the honourable gentleman suggests. I say the expenditure would be greater because at this stage one cannot be certain what the expenditure by the State governments will be on their schools in 1974. The Commonwealth's commitment for non-government schools under last year's Act amounts to 20 per cent of the sum that the State governments spent on each pupil in their schools.

The consequence of the vote which the Opposition sought in the House of Representatives would have been an additional expenditure even greater than the honourable gentleman has suggested in this House. The situation is, of course, that the Government's Bill envisages an expenditure three times as great as the expenditure under last year's Act. The expenditure under the Government's Bill, with one minor exception, accords with the unanimous recommendation of the Karmel Committee received before the end of May and communicated to the States last June. It is extraordinary that now at the eleventh hour, or later, the Opposition should have taken steps to retain last year's Act and at the same time stall the present legislation which has been promised for more than 5 months.

Mr SPEAKER -I call the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr SNEDDEN - Mr Speaker-

Mr Whitlam - I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper.

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