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Wednesday, 30 May 1973
Page: 2844

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock (LYNE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Order! Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr BEAZLEY - Yes, I certainly do. It is very clear that confronted with the possibility that the Government will adopt this magnificent program we are to have nothing said about the program but a situation invented in which statements and accusations are made which are not only grossly defamatory of me but are also grossly defamatory of Professor Karmel, as if he were a stooge who would accept directives. I am perfectly willing to table the letter which I have sent to the Committee. My communications with the Committee have been three. The first was my initial statement to the Committee, which is a public document. The second is a letter I have here and the third was when I was asked for an informal opinion. It may interest the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser) to know that my informal opinion was precisely the opposite of his slander. My informal opinion was opposite to what the Committee has recommended. My view was that every school in the country, including the Geelong Grammar School, should receive a basic grant from the Commonwealth and that the Commonwealth should have an identity with the education of everychild. If it has recommended, in good conscience, something that is different from that, it is its decision and not my directive. I should like this matter discussed on the basis of the merits of this radical transformation of education in Australia, including the transformation of the Catholic schools and not on the basis of alleged-

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock - Order! I appreciate that in a personal explanation the Minister may show where the misrepresentation has occurred, but he cannot debate the matter.

Mr BEAZLEY - Very well, Mr Deputy Speaker. This matter should not be discussed on the basis of a misrepresentation of my attitude. I will not be manoeuvred into the position of being prejudiced against the education of any child in Australia, no matter whether he be regarded as a privileged child. It was not my attitude.

Mr Malcolm Fraser - As I indicated earlier, if the Minister would indicate that what I was saying was incorrect I would certainly apologise to him. I look forward to reading the 3 communications that were tabled.

Mr BEAZLEY - I did not table 3 communications. My initial speech was a public document which was printed. 1 have tabled the one letter I wrote to the Committee.

Mr Malcolm Fraser - There has been no communication from the Prime Minister to the Committee?

Mr BEAZLEY - 1 do not know anything about communications between the Prime Minister and the Committee. All that I know is that this has been my view.

Mr MALCOLMFRASER (Wannon)- 1 would like to mention one other matter by way of personal explanation. I make the point quite plain that it is perfectly competent for a government that has a certain policy to give policy guidelines to a committee which is making an examination on its behalf. It is no reflection on any member of that committee to indicate that that might have been done. I have the highest possible regard for Professor Karmel and every member of the Interim Committee. If a government has a certain policy it wants pursued that government is entitled to establish policy guidelines within which that examination must take place. The purpose of what I was wanting to do was to see whether there have not been policy guidelines beyond the stated and public terms of reference. Secondly, it ought to be noted that I pressed the Minister for Education (Mr Beazley) and the Leader of the House (Mr Daly) to make arrangements that would enable this long and detailed report to be fully examined. I hope that its educational qualities and merits will be debated without passion from either side of the House.

Mr Beazley - Mr Deputy Speaker, may I say one thing more to the honourable member, and that is that if the Committee were to-

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