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Wednesday, 19 April 1972
Page: 1213

Senator HANNAN (VICTORIA) - Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science been drawn to recent Press reports stating that certain rebel students had occupied the administration buildings at La Trobe University for a period of days until recently, thus obstructing the operation of that university? Has the Minister's attention also been drawn lo Press reports that among the students lying in, occupying the administration rooms and corridors of La Trobe University and discussing further action on and supporting the improper occupation was a so-called student named William Hartley, former Secretary of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party, a branch which will be remembered? Is the Minister able to say whether this is the same Mr Hartley who is presently a member of the Federal Executive and the Federal Conference of the ALP? Is it a fact that between biennial conferences the Federal Executive of the ALP interprets Labor policy and directs ALP parliamentarians how to vote?

Senator POKE (TASMANIA) - No.

Senator HANNAN - You will do your endorsement. Is the Minister able to state whether an education policy dictated partly by a gentleman who takes part in improper occupation of university premises and so prevents its proper functioning would be in the genuine interests of Australian students?

The PRESIDENT - I call Senator Wright as Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science.

Opposition senators - Oh!

The PRESIDENT - I wish to make a short, sharp announcement. Those honourable senators who are inclined to accept and evolve bovine characteristics will be assisted to go where the grass is.

Senator WRIGHT - Mr President,I think you should have said 'draft' instead of 'grass'. Reports have come to my notice to the effect that for some days students were able to occupy the corridors of the La Trobe University. The reports were to the effect that the aforesaid William Hartley was one of the students, that the discarded official of the Australian Labor Party now occupies the role of a pseudo student, and that in the interests of a subversive minority group he now is carrying on the left wing Labor policy of preventing, within the educational institution, the great body of purposeful students from getting the instruction to which they are entitled and of preventing the great body of dedicated staff from fulfilling their proper educational functions. The Federal Government has increased its involvement in Australian university education in the last 10 years from the then appropriation of $28m to the present appropriation of $90m and it is encumbent upon university administation to understand that no Government responsible for that expenditure could remain unconcerned about the frustration of the proper purposes to which those appropriations should be put.

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