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Friday, 9 December 1983
Page: 3577

Senator RYAN (Minister for Education and Youth Affairs)(9.42) —I point out that the responsibility of the Commonwealth Minister is set out in sub-clause (2) of clause 23. The Minister has a responsibility to ensure that an appropriate range of organisations is represented and that such representation shall be of an appropriate size. We have not actually determined what is to be the final number; we are still seeking views from the States on that. The reason the Minister should have a power of veto is that this is a Commonwealth program and a Commonwealth initiative. The Commonwealth wishes to retain a close involvement in it. We wish to know whether our objectives under the program are being pursued appropriately. The relationship between me and the State Ministers will be one of close co-operation and consultation. If we were not to have a close role, such as is set out in the legislation, the character of the program would quickly change from being one which, as a result of a Commonwealth initiative, is pursuing objectives that the Government has for all Australians, to one involving a fragmented series of State and territorial initiatives. In order to keep the Commonwealth character of the program clear and to enable the Commonwealth to monitor the program, there will be a requirement of ministerial approval of the range of organisations and the number of people on committees. The identity of the people making up the committees will be for State Ministers to decide.