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Wednesday, 30 May 1973
Page: 2919

Dr GUN (Kingston) - I do not think that today should be allowed to pass without making mention of the fact that 2 historic and momentous documents have been presented to the Parliament. One is titled Community Health Program for Australia' which is a report from the National Hospitals and Health Services Commisson Interim Committee. The other report is entitled Schools in Australia* and is a report of the Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission. As I have said, these are momentous reports. The Committees concerned were both headed by very knowledgeable and greatly respected people within their own disciplines. We are very fortunate in Australia that we have these 2 eminent people heading their respective Committees. Subsequently they will head the Commissions concerned. I refer to Professor Karmel, who will be the head of the Australian Schools Commission. The Australian Hospitals and Health Services Commission will be headed by Dr Sidney Sax, who is at present the Chairman of the National Hospitals and Health Services Commission Interim Committee.

The report on Australian schools is an excellent document. I have not had time to examine it in detail, but from what I have seen of it already I know that it is a magnificent blueprint for education for the 1970s. It is not just an ad hoc survey like the survey that was commissioned by the previous Government. It has all the details we need for a dynamic program for education in the 1970s. In the report is an estimate of the immediate needs in schools and itemised details of what is needed. The report sets out how we should collect the data for an ongoing appraisal of the needs of education. There are recommendations on how to meet those needs and the estimated costs involved. There are firm recommendations on the administration and the structure and the functions of the Australian Schools Commission. The report contains an excellent system by which the Committee ban indexed the recurrent resource use of schools throughout Australia. They have used this system to estimate the needs and how to bring the facilities in schools up to a certain target by 1979. The report sets out the urgent needs for 1974 and 1975. It outlines the problems of all the various areas such as the problems of schools "with socio-economic disadvantages.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I should like to remind the honourable gentleman that the debate on the schools report has been made an order of the day for tomorrow.

Dr GUN - In that regard, I might also mention that the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) has also spoken about foreign affairs today. That is also a subject set down for discussion tomorrow. Be that as it may, I want to make only passing reference to the subject. I do not think the occassion should be allowed to pass without mentioning the snide remarks of the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser) when he spoke on this subject earlier today. In the report of the Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission at page 87 he found a sentence which stated that category A schools, which are a small select group of schools in the nongovernment, non-Catholic sector, already use a volume of resources that well exceeds the 1979 target and that the Committee believes that Government assistance to those schools cannot be justified.

Did the honourable member for Wannon bear in mind the great blueprint of this document for underprivileged schools? He said not a word about that. Did he have anything to say about the new deal for handicapped children? Not a word. Did he have anything to say about the needs being met for migrant children? He said nothing about that. What about the new deal for primary school libraries? There was not a word said about that. All he is concerned about is protecting this small group of elite schools. What did he do? He made a personal, despicable and shameful attack on the Chairman of the Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission, Professor Peter Karmel, under the veil of making an attack on the Minister for Education (Mr Beazley).

Mr MacKellar - I raise a point of order. I point out, through you Mr Speaker, that you did tell the honourable member for Kingston that this matter was to be debated tomorrow. You advised him that he should not deal with it. He is disregarding that advice from you. This is out of order.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I asked the honourable member to keep away from discussing the report.

Dr GUN - I am just taking exception to the despicable remarks made today by the honourable member for Wannon, when he made a personal attack on a public servant who is unable to defend himself. It was thinly disguised as an attack on the Minister for Education. Professor Karmel, as we know, is probably the most accomplished person in his field in Australia. His integrity is without question. I believe that the honourable member for Wannon should be made to apologise. On the question of the community health program for Australia set out by the Committee headed by Dr Saks, I believe this report commends its attention to everybody in Australia and I would particularly commend it to those gentlemen from the Australian Medical Association whose contribution to community health resources will be announced tomorrow when they announce their fee increases. I hope that when they announce those increases that they will give some indication that they are paying regard to what is after all the purpose of a health policy, namely, to provide a system of integrated community care for the whole community.

Mr SPEAKER - - Order! It being 11 p.m., the House stands adjourned until 10 a.m. tomorrow.

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