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Thursday, 27 April 1972
Page: 2066

Mr WHITLAM - I ask the Minister for Education and Science a question on the publication of statistics in the field of education. It is just on 2 years since the Nationwide Survey of Educational Needs was completed by the State governments, but the New South Wales and Victorian governments have not yet published the portions of the survey which relate to those States. Can the Minister yet say when those governments will do so? I also ask the Minister about university statistics. Not till 9th November last year was he able to give me the number and percentage of qualified students who could not find places at universities at the beginning of that year. In the Budget session last year he did not answer my questions on the various categories of Commonwealth scholarships until 4 to 10 weeks later than he answered my questions in 1969 when he was previously the Minister for Education and Science. I therefore ask him: How early this year will his Department be able to supply honourable members with current information on the number of students seeking and receiving Commonwealth scholarships?

Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) -The first part of the honourable gentleman's question concerning the New South Wales and Victorian governments ought to be directed to those governments because he well knows that the survey was compiled, collated and collected by State Departments of Education under the authority of their own State Ministers and State governments. Any decisions concerning the results of this survey are decisions for those governments and not for this Government.

The honourable gentleman asked me detailed questions about when information would be available concerning some of the questions which he puts on notice each year. I think it should be noted that in this particular field the honourable gentleman puts on notice a very large number of questions. The priority of the departmental officers' time must be taken into consider.ation. I will see when the information sought in the particular questions to which he has referred will be available and when it can be made available. If the honourable gentleman says that he would like to give those questions precedence over others that he or members of his Party might have asked, I will be happy to try to do that.

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