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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 2637

Mr WHAN (Eden) (Monaro) - I wish to place on record my absolute confidence in and high regard for the teachers in my electorate. I shall make absolutely certain that the low level of regard held for those teachers by the Opposition is made well known to them. I rise to make one point-

Mr Peacock - Who prepared this speech?

Mr WHAN - I make one point alone.

Mr Peacock - Why are you reading your speech? Who wrote this speech for you?

Mr WHAN - We have heard the honourable member for Maranoa (Mr Corbett)-

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Luchetti - Order! I ask the Committee to come to order. The Minister at the table and several members on the Opposition front bench are setting a very bad example to other honourable members. I call the honourable member for Eden-Monaro.

Mr WHAN - The honourable member for Maranoa and others have complained that the present policy of this Government on education discriminates against children who attend boarding schools. Let me place on record what has been done. This Government recognised for the first time the unique and special problem that exists in educating children from isolated areas. It was this Government which for the first time provided money in respect of those children. Between $300 and $1,000 is being paid in respect of each of those children. The Liberal-Country Party Government of New South Wales - a government of the same colour as honourable members opposite who rise and say that our Government has taken money from the hands of children who go to boarding schools - immediately the grant for isolated children was made available, withdrew the payment of $80 a year which it made in respect of those children. Who is taking money from the children who must leave isolated areas to attend boarding schools? The LiberalCountry Party Government in New South Wales withdrew $80 a year in respect of each child in that category because this Labor Government had taken on the responsibility of meeting this dire need.

But it did not only that. In Cooma, there is a hostel for these children. The moment that this assistance was paid by the Australian Government, the fees at that hostel were raised by the New South Wales Government by exactly that amount that was provided as base level assistance, $300. This is an example of money being taken from those children who must leave their homes and attend boarding school. We do not need to look very far for tangible evidence of this in the actions of the Liberal-Country Party Government which dominates New South Wales. Who else does? It has all authority. The Liberal-Country Party Government in that State is the one which has withdrawn money from children attending boarding schools. That is the only point I make. I make it and withdraw from the debate.

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