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Wednesday, 27 September 1972
Page: 2074


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! I call on the honourable member for Prospect to withdraw that remark.


Dr Klugman - Mr Deputy Speaker, I said that the honourable member for Fremantle said that the Minister was a liar. I heard it with my own ears. The Minister said just now that he accepted it. I am not commenting on it.


Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) - I listened to the honourable member for Fremantle while that interjection was being made on a number of occasions. I do not believe it came from the honourable member for Fremantle. It would have been quite out of character for him.


Mr Beazley - No, it did not.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! I accept the assurance of the honourable member for Fremantle that he did not make the comment. I did hear it come from a group of people but I could not identify the interjector exactly, so I had to let it go. But the group did not include the honourable member for Fremantle.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - In effect that is what he said.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - He did not.


Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) - It is interesting to see the honourable gentlemen opposite attribute to the honourable member for Fremantle characteristics which they have but he does not have. That, of course, is one of the problems with this debate. The honourable member for Fremantle unfortunately is in the position of having the honourable member for Bendigo actively competing for his position as shadow Minister for Education - something to which significant attention has been drawn by a number of people in the Press. I should like to know whether the honourable member for Bendigo is prepared to say that he has not had close discussions with Professor Goldman.


Mr Kennedy - You want me to stab our shadow Minister in the way that you stabbed your Prime Minister.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Bendigo will resume his seat.


Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) -The honourable member for Maribyrnong (Dr Cass) is a member of this Parliament and an adviser to the Labor Party and its Caucus on a number of matters.


Mr Duthie - He is not.


Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) - Are you attacking your own members now? The honourable member for Maribyrnong was reported in the 'Sentinel' - if the 'Sentinel' report is wrong I will accept an assurance that it is - in September of this year as saying that he was personally opposed to all forms of State aid grants for schools. He is entitled to a view, but he is not the only person so entitled. Mr Hartley, Chairman of the Federal Executive Education Committee, holds views which are dedicated in opposition to State aid.

The Government's approach to these problems has become evident in this Bill. We are seeking to implement our proposals and support for education while leaving maximum possible control in the State departments for their own education systems, and also with the independent school authorities for their own schools. The one advisory committee in each State to assess the priorities of all independent schools is a significant advance in the application of capital funds. It will make sure that the requirements and priorities of one school will be judged against all the others in that State. This stands in marked contrast again to the proposals of the Australian Labor Party, which are centralist and which would be designed to achieve control of all schools. One needs only to look at the remarks of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard) as reported in Hansard of 9th March of this year, those of the honourable member for Fremantle as reported in the South Australian Teachers Journal on 24th May of this year or those of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) in one of the pamphlets on education which he has issued in an election year, to see that this is so. In the pamphlets the Leader of the Opposition made it quite plain that the schools commission would examine every aspect of a school's affairs. This is contrary to our philosophy and it is contrary to our general approach to these matters.

But one thing - and one thing alone - shows how difficult the Opposition's position is in this matter. The Leader of the Opposition has said quite firmly and plainly that any school which charged more than $300 a year in fees would not need any additional Government aid. Fees of $300 a year are about half of the cost of providing full education, taking into account some element for capital, in Government secondary schools. Under what strange arithmetic does the Leader of the Oppositoin come to the view that an education costing $300 a year in an independent school is adequate while an education in a Government school requires $600 a year? That is class distinction of a strange kind from the Leader of the Opposition. One of the odd things about the debate on this legislation is that a number of the attitudes expressed by members of the Opposition and, at least in part, the tenor of the amendment repudiate known and public views that the Leader of the Opposition has expressed. On the Macquarie Network on 1st May of this year he said:

The truth is that nowadays even the richest man cannot educate his family . . . without help from the community.

That showed that he believed then that even the wealthiest person required assistance. What has happened to that belief? Or is that one of the matters on which the honourable member for Bendigo and others made him stand and be counted in the Labor Party Caucus. Then, addressing a parents and friends meeting at the Festival Hall in Melbourne on 2nd May of this year, he said:

We will not repeal or reduce any educational benefit which is already being paid. We will confirm any that are there already.

Implicit in the amendment is a view that is directly contrary to that view expressed by the Leader of the Opposition. The view was expressed on another occasion - at the Catholic Luncheon Club of Melbourne on 20th June, which was after the date of the Prime Minister's announcement of the policy matters which have been put into legislative form in the Bill that is before the chamber tonight. He then said that the Labor Party had never voted against any Bill proposing Commonwealth aid for education - I think that is slightly questionable, but I will let it go - and that is would support any forms of benefit already existing. How many members on the other side of the House support their Leader on these matters? The views that he has been compelled to accept in Caucus are quite clearly contrary and in opposition to the views that he has been expressing around the country in his own name. He has been falsely taking the Labor Party's name on these same issues. I should have thought that it would be an interesting Caucus meeting to have a confessional, with the Leader of the Opposition telling the members of his own Party bow many times he has expressed a view which is contrary to their policy, contrary to their views and contrary to their wishes, hoping to gain some additional support from certain selected people.

I think that this Bill will do a great deal for education in Australia. It will improve the standard of education both in government and independent schools. I commend it to the House.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Corbett)Order!The Minister's time has expired.

Question put:

That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr Beazley's amendment) stand part of the question.







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