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Monday, 11 November 1985
Page: 1881

Senator CROWLEY —My question is directed to the Minister for Education. At a function in Adelaide yesterday the Greek community gathered to initiate fund raising for its contribution to the chair of modern Greek at Flinders University, which chair is to be funded jointly by Commonwealth, State and Greek community contributions. Can the Minister elaborate on the contributions from the Commonwealth, the State and the Greek community and when the appointment of the first professor to the chair of modern Greek may be made? If no professorial appointment is planned in the near future, what other steps are planned or are in place to establish the chair and the attendant department?

Senator RYAN —The function in Adelaide yesterday did indeed mark the end of the first phase; that is, the getting together of the founding money for the Greek chair. The next phase will be the appointment of the chair and the ability of Flinders University to take students. It was a very important occasion because it represented the fulfilment by the Hawke Labor Government of a major commitment to the academic community and the Greek community in South Australia. In this year's Budget I announced that there would be a quarter of a million dollars available for the foundation of the chair-$100,000 for expenditure in 1986 and $150,000 for expenditure in 1987. The State Minister for Education, Mr Lynn Arnold, was able yesterday to make available to Flinders University that Government's contribution so that early activities could be commenced immediately.

The Greek community, which has been campaigning for a chair of modern Greek at Flinders University, has undertaken as its part of the agreement to raise funds from the community to back up the funds provided by the Commonwealth and State governments. As planning funds now are available it will be possible for Flinders University to set about finding a suitable person to be the foundation chair of this exciting new educational venture. As Senator Crowley will be aware, those matters are in the hands of the university, which is an autonomous institution. However, from discussions I have had with representatives of Flinders University I expect that they will be moving very fast and that indeed it may be possible for some students to commence studies at Flinders University next year.

In any case, I think it is very heartening to see an education initiative so genuinely supported by the particular community it is meant to serve-although, of course, all students having access to this course at Flinders University will be well served by it. There is no doubt that in an Australia which is a multicultural society increasingly there will be a need for chairs such as this chair of modern Greek to reflect the realities of life in Australia-the realities of cultural language and other influences which go to make up part of our democratic society. This is a very exciting venture and I, along with Senator Crowley and many other people in South Australia, look forward to the announcement of the professor to the first chair.