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Tuesday, 27 November 1973
Page: 3926

Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honourable member for Gwydir (Mr Hunt) was concerned that there had been deception. I feel that I have dealt with that. He was anxious to emphasise the fact that the Australian Country Party supported per capita grants. I wish he would tell it to his colleagues in New South Wales because that has not been the situation in that State. The means test has prevented it altogether. I remind him that in 1963 in the New South Wales Parliament when the then Labor Government introduced per capita grants it was opposed by the Country Party and the Liberal Party, and that is on record as the honourable member will see if he checks Hansard. It is not much use making a speech here without looking at the situation in his own State where he would have a lot of influence which he could use to correct the situation there.

Mr Hunt -The Liberal Party in New South Wales was the first Party in that State to adopt the principle of State aid in 1961.

Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It was not.

Mr Hunt - We were.

Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The 1963 Budget provided per capita grants of £21 for each child. Mr Cutler, as he then was, opposed it and so did Mr Hughes. I suggest that the honourable member check the Hansard report. The vote was put on that basis. There was a double standard.

Mr Hunt - It is doing it now, is it not?

Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The first time it was ever given it was opposed not only by your Party but also by Sir Robert Askin and that is the issue. It is on record.

Mr Hunt - In what context though?

Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - In the context that the first time legislation making a grant available was introduced it was opposed. Let me put this on the record. In 1962 Sir Robert

Askin proposed in his policy speech to give some State aid but he took it out and the honourable member knows that a Mr Honner left the platform because he felt he had been betrayed. There was no policy recommendation in the 1962 policy speech. It may have been in the Country Party's policy speech but that Party never contested enough seats to enable it to form a government. So how could it possibly have a policy when the Liberal policy was knocked out? To come back to what I was saying, the whole issue is on the score of what a good Bill this is; what it can do for education; what great work has been done by the Karmel Committee and what a splendid effort has been made by the Minister. I want to assure the House that he is very interested and he is coming along well now that he has had a rest. He will be back in a matter of 10 days. I am very anxious to report to him on how honourable members received this legislation today. While the amendments are of some interest we cannot accept them.

Amendment negatived.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.

In Committee

Clause 1 to 14 - by leave - taken together.

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