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Friday, 17 December 1993
Page: 4932

Senator TEAGUE (9.11 a.m.) —Let me rise very briefly to say that I also consult carefully with representatives of the Catholic systemic schools in the states. The Liberal and National parties want those schools to flourish. We want to see the whole spectrum of schools in this country able to manage their affairs and to have maximum autonomy and we want to allow the parents of Australia freedom of choice to see their children educated in the way in which each family determines.

  There is a difference in operations between systemic schools. There is a flexibility for the central organisers of a system in each state to receive moneys and disperse moneys, to have their own rolling plans over quite a long period. I can understand that the systemic schools would see less objection in having to give the notice that is required by the government to be three years. However, it is not any surprise that that other group of non-government schools has not the same ability. They are the non-systemic schools that are more individual and more independent; they are dealing for the most part with only one school, not a range of schools in any one state. They have not as big a flywheel in continuous momentum. This additional time the government is proposing is a difficulty for them. It is in the light of the overall picture and the balance of how this would affect all non-government schools that we will oppose these clauses. I therefore acknowledge that a fair degree of what the minister has said is his feedback from systemic schools. We persist with our opposition to these clauses.