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Friday, 9 December 1983
Page: 3588

Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK(10.49) —I am somewhat bemused by the Australian Democrats' attitudes. At first I thought that they would not support paragraph (a) on their argument that basically, because the previous Government had broken some promises it had provided a precedent and, therefore, this Government could break promises. Clearly, if one looks at the specific promises on which this Government was elected to office, one realises that it has broken very significant promises indeed.

Senator Macklin —I said that we supported that; you did not listen.

Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —Yes, I did.

Senator Macklin —Don't misconstrue what I said.

Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —Let the Democrats resent as they wish. If Senator Macklin had listened, he would know that I said that during his argument one could have been forgiven for reaching a particular conclusion.

Senator Macklin —If you can reach that, that is your problem.

Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —Senator Macklin can become angry. Every time it is exposed that in the main parts the Democrats simply reflect the decisions of the Australian Labor Party, the Democrats get hostile. But, of course, more and more -

Senator Macklin —You should have asked the Prime Minister about that last night.

Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —Indeed, but the fact is that the Hansard and the Democrats' voting patterns are a clear record of where they stand. This is a classic.

Senator Macklin —I take a point of order, Mr Acting Deputy President. I have raised before the matter of misrepresentation of votes of the Senate. The votes of the Senate are for divisions and votes taken on the voices. There is a clear direction, and indeed a statement from the previous President, in relation to our votes. A misrepresentation of our votes is going on.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Sibraa) —There is no point of order.

Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —The fact is that the Democrats, by not supporting paragraphs (b), (c), (d) and (e), are in fact contributing to the erosion and the destruction-

Senator Macklin —Oh, it does nothing; it is a pious attachment to the second reading.

Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —If Senator Macklin wants to interject, I will draw the attention of the listening public to the fact that the Democrats are angry today because they find themselves in a position where they are going to be exposed as supporting the Government in its erosion of and attacks on the independent schools.

Senator Macklin —Oh, you tried that last year.

Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —Senator Macklin can grumble like a volcano in the corner if he wants to. The fact is that this Government came into office and set about destroying the basic principles of the dual stream of education and no one can deny that. It set about attacking the basic grant in a solid concept. No one can deny that, and this amendment says that. This Government took away the fixed percentage grant which gave every school the certainty, the guarantee, that it could predict next year and the year after what funds would come in. It has in fact said to every one of those independent schools: 'You, the most needy schools cannot in future be guaranteed your funds'. It is very clear that those who do not support paragraphs (b), (c), (d) and (e) are saying that they believe in this attack, that they believe in this erosion of the dual stream of education, that therefore those people who are protesting throughout Australia today are wrong and that they are opposed to the protests.

I simply rise to put in place what this amendment means. This amendment speaks with the voice of the people throughout Australia who are saying that they are concerned about the quality of education and that they are protesting about the Federal Government's erosion of policies in education and its breaking of promises. It is quite clear where the amendment stands. The Opposition will, of course support the amendment.