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Tuesday, 27 November 1973
Page: 3931

Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Opposition's proposal would place the whole Bill in jeopardy. The Opposition is asking the Government to provide an additional $1 14m. This is. treated as a mere bagatelle by the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser). It has nothing to do with the needs concept. He spoke about a majority in the other place. Let me put it on record that the Government has a mandate for this legislation. It was put to the electors quite clearly. It was referred to-

Mr Malcolm Fraser - This was not.

Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes. The Opposition was put on notice by the Minister for Education {Mr Beazley) when the legislation was introduced last September. It was made quite clear that there could be no deception and no misleading by words. It was said quite clearly that the 1973 position would be maintained but that, after that, funds would be reappropriated on the basis of need. There is no denial of that. It is on record and there is no deception. In paragraph 6.45 of the Karmel Committee report we see that .the grants recommended are intended to replace those provided under the States Grants (Schools) Act. The same wording is repeated in paragraph 6.54 - the grants recommended are intended to replace those recurrent grants provided under the States Grants (Schools) Act.

So here we have a situation of an Opposition, which is deemed to be responsible, denying what has been said in the Parliament, rejecting the Karmel Committee's recommendations and saying: 'We will accept what you are doing but you will have to provide another $114m'. Of course, that means the allocation would be on a per capita grant basis, which was the Opposition's attitude all the way through. The Australian Labor Party made it quite clear in the Parliament, in its policy speech or wherever the Labor Party has had to stand up and answer for its education policy, that it would be on the basis of need. This amendment would destroy the whole concept of need. There would have been no reason for the Karmel Committee to consider this situation if a further $114m had to be added on to what was recommended and what this Bill will implement. For that reason the Government persists with the clause.

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