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Thursday, 4 June 1970

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) -I did read these particular statements; in fact, I have become a compulsive reader of any statement on education. But I have noticed that there is as much variety of opinion amongst educationists as there is amongst lawyers and scientists, and some of them assert their views just as dogmatically as do the members of other professions. The 6 State governments which are responsible very largely in this field and the Commonwealth Government are not likely to be stampeded by Press reports of the views of transient visitors from different educational systems. On the other hand I would say that there is no closed mind either of my colleagues in the States or of myself on the issues which have been raised by these men. One of the difficulties in this field is that there has not been enough basic research giving us the facts on which sound judgments can be based about changes of this type. When the Prime Minister, in his policy speech last year, announced the establishment of an advisory committee on development and research in education this gap was seen as capable, we hoped, of being filled, and I am currently working on the establishment of this committee which will be recommending the initiation or support of basic research. I can assure the honourable member that if steps are taken to change the system they will be taken on the basis of research and proper informal, on.

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