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Wednesday, 14 December 1983
Page: 3752

Senator GILES —Has the attention of the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs been drawn to an article in West Australian Education News which states that parents and students in Western Australia have described secondary schools in that State as good, caring institutions with many satisfactory courses of study? Can the Minister comment on the suggestion that education decision makers, principals and teachers may take encouragement from this preliminary research into perceptions of public education in Western Australia?

Senator RYAN —Yes, I have seen a newspaper report of the matter with which Senator Giles's question is concerned. It does not surprise me at all that a survey has shown a very high degree of satisfaction by parents who choose public education in Western Australia. Nor would it surprise me if surveys showed a similar high degree of satisfaction by parents using public education throughout Australia. Certainly, in the Australian Capital Territory-my own electorate-I am very well aware of a very high degree of parent satisfaction with government schooling. However, I think it is useful to have such evidence available because some of the claims that have been made in the current education debate suggest that government schooling is not satisfactory to the majority of parents who choose it. So I am pleased to see that there is some objective data backing up what I think anybody who moves around the education community would know, and that is that, generally speaking, our government schools meet the needs of parents, teachers and students.