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Thursday, 31 May 1973
Page: 2934

Mr DOYLE (LILLEY, QUEENSLAND) - Has the attention of the Minister for Education been drawn to a reported critical statement attributed to the principal of Nudgee College, Brisbane, and relating to the report of the Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission? Is there any substance in the criticism attributed to this college principal?

Mr BEAZLEY - As I understand the reverend brother's comments, he appears to regard the report as discriminating concerning Catholics and he has announced that action will be taken in the High Court of Australia to prevent this discrimination. Also as I understand his comments he seems to suggest that Nudgee College is in some danger as a result of the recommendations. As it has been reported to me, he said that the report cuts across the policy of the Parents and Friends Association or the Catholic Parents Council and some other body. The report also happens to have changed some of my convictions. The committee was not appointed to do other than investigate impartially and make recommendations. As for discrimination concerning Catholics, the late Government's policy, taken at the secondary level which applies to Nudgee College, allowing for $104 per capita a year, to rise by 10 per cent to $114 and then to rise by another 10 per cent to $125 - the rises for the primary level would be similar - in 2 years Catholic schools would have received over $80m. In the 2 years under these recommendations they will receive about $120m. I did not know what individual schools would receive but, in view of the comments of the principal of Nudgee, a preliminary estimate indicates that they would go from $104 per capita this year to about $J20 per capita next year and to about $165 per capita the year after. If the Reverend Brother is reported correctly, I am astonished that he should have assessed constitutionally yesterday on a report which obviously he could not have read.

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