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Wednesday, 10 May 1989
Page: 2169


Senator TEAGUE —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Employment, Education and Training. It concerns the appalling situation in our universities and colleges caused by Mr Dawkins's plans to force amalgamations on Australia's universities and colleges. How many universities and colleges are now in conflict with each other and with Mr Dawkins over disagreements on amalgamations? What is the present status of the Australian National University and Canberra College of Advanced Education amalgamation Bill which has no prospect of success in this chamber? What is the funding situation for the Gold Coast College of Advanced Education which is now below Mr Dawkins's arbitrary minimum of 2,000 students despite its prospects of steady and significant growth? Does the Minister agree that uncertainty over threats to cut funding for smaller institutions is causing major headaches and uncertainty throughout the higher education sector? Finally, why does the Minister believe that bigger is necessarily better and more cost effective? Why does the Government not allow educational institutions to make decisions on educational grounds?


Senator WALSH —I will get an answer to the specks of substance that were in that question, that is, of course, net of all the rhetorical flourishes which comprised the greater part of it. The only other point I make is to say yet again, and to express the fervent hope that one day Senator Teague may understand it, that the amalgamations are voluntary, not mandatory.