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Wednesday, 23 April 1980
Page: 1692

Senator ROCHER (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education. Is Professor Low accurately reported as saying that the Australian National University is not required by the provisions of the Australian National University Act 1 979 to authorise a reduction of services and amenities fees for students who do not wish to have part of the fees they have paid appropriated for the use of sociopolitical organisations? Will the draft statute prepared by the ANU for consideration by its Council in May reflect the intentions expressed by Senator Carrick, the then Minister for Education, during the debate on the amending Act in November last year? If it does not, will the Government frame further legislative amendments to ensure that its requirements are observed?

Senator CARRICK (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) -I am advised that the Council of the Australian National University has not yet adopted a statute as required by the 1979 amendments to the ANU Act, specifying the categories of amenities and services that may be funded from compulsory student fees. A draft of the statute is expected to be considered by the Council at its meeting on 9 May. Executive Council approval for the statute would be required. The Vice-Chancellor of the ANU was reported in a recent article appearing in the National Times as saying that the University was not required under the 1 979 Act to make a distinction between members and non-members of the Students' Association in respect of the levels of fees by charging a lower level of fees to non-members.

Certainly it is the intention of the Government that there should be an entirely voluntary membership by students of socio-political organisations. Certainly, it is the objective of the Government that a student who indicates his or her intention not to join the Association should pay a lesser fee. If, indeed, owing to some legal technicality the present legislation is found to be defective, the Government will, without any doubt, make alterations to ensure that the intention of the Government as expressed in the second reading speech and. indeed, as conveyed to all universities is brought about.

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