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Thursday, 30 August 1973
Page: 642

Mr MacKELLAR (Warringah) - The honourable member for Holt (Mr Oldmeadow) chose, in this Grievance Day debate, to canvass the whole range of the Karmel Committee report. I do not propose to do that. I wish to take up a couple of the points which he made. Firstly, he and a number of his colleagues have sought to make great capital out of the fact that education is the fastest growing sector in the Budget. I welcome this. But I point out to the honourable member that for the past few years education has been the fastest growing sector in the Commonwealth Budget.

The honourable member, along with other members of his Party, mentioned the increase in expenditure in the field of education of $404m. I think it is only fair to point out that there is an element of deceit in the presentation of these figures, because $144. 6m is a direct transfer payment from the States and $90m is the result of decisions made by the previous Government. The latter is expenditure under the Australian Universities Commission, on colleges of advanced education and on the implementation of the recommendations of the Cohen Committee. That Committee was commissioned by the previous Government, and naturally we could have been expected to adopt its recommendations. So, let us look more closely at the increase in educational expenditure. Do not let us assume for a moment that it is all marvellous new work on the part of the present Government.

I do not wish to discuss the whole of the Karmel Committee report and its recommendations. I wish to discuss only particular decisions of the Australian Government in relation to that report. I wish to make it quite clear to members of the Government Party that I am not just concerned about those children who attend independent schools.

Mr Mathews - Why do you not talk about something else once in a while?

Mr MacKELLAR - I will.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock - Order! The honourable member for Casey is one of the speakers listed for this debate. I suggest that he keep his remarks until he makes his speech.

Mr MacKELLAR - I am concerned about the education of all children and the educational rights of all children. I do not propose to discuss in detail the educational philosophy contained in the Karmel report. I hope that we in this House will be given the opportunity to debate more fully the recommendations in the Karmel Committee report and to go into the details of the report in some depth. I am concerned, as are other members of the Opposition and many other people outside this Parliament, about the credibility of the Minister for Education (Mr Beazley) and the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam). We have heard from the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser) quotations detailing the Prime Minister's statements before the election and, of course, the results after the election. I do not wish to canvass that because we all know the Prime Minister's reputation for slipperiest when faced with obvious discrepancies in his utterances, but the Minister for Education

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock - Order! I suggest to the honourable member for Warringah that he rephrase the last remark that he made.

Mr MacKELLAR - I am not quite sure which remark you are taking exception to, Mr Deputy Speaker.

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