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Tuesday, 27 November 1973
Page: 3932

Mr McKenzie (Diamond Valley) - The passing of the Opposition's amendment - in other words, allowing the amount of money in the present Act to flow on - would have the very clear effect of making sure that this program cannot be properly implemented. We have heard a lot of things said in this House recently about the Government's expenditure - what it is spending on this, what it is spending on that, that the Government ought to cut down its expenditure, and so on. It is quite clear from the statements that were made before the election and those made after the election that the Government is carrying out the wishes of the majority of Australians in presenting this Bill. If it is not passed, the Government will not be able to implement the sorts of things mentioned in the Bill.

The Government will not be able to implement properly the general building grants and the supplementary science laboratory building grants mentioned in clauses 4 to 10. It will not be able to implement properly the grants for recurrent expenditure mentioned in clauses 11 to 16. It will not be able to implement properly the library grants mentioned in clauses 17 to 25 or the grants for disadvantaged schools, the grants in respect of special schools for handicapped children, the grants in respect of teacher development or those applying to innovations which are referred to as special projects.

Mr Bourchier - Get your facts right.

Mr McKenzie (Diamond Valley) - I hear honourable members opposite interjecting and saying that the Government will be able to do so. The fact is that a considerable amount of money, running into tens of millions of dollars, would need to be appropriated in order to carry out the intent of the amendment moved by the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser). I would like to support what the Acting Minister for Education, the Postmaster-General (Mr Lionel Bowen), said a little while ago. To my mind the situation is quite clear, and none of the words in the letter incorporated by the honourable member for Wannon alter my opinion in any way. As far as I am concerned, it was quite clear in that letter and in the statements that have been made - it has always been quite clear - that if a Labor government were elected it would make the allocations on the basis of need.

Mr Staley - Additional funds.

Mr McKenzie (Diamond Valley) - The Government has made additional grants. A considerable amount of extra money has been made available to non-government schools in addition to the enormous amount of money made available to government schools. The Government has done what the people of Australia wish it to do. It is carrying out the policy put by the present Prime Minister and also by the Minister for Education (Mr Beazley) when he was the Opposition's spokesman for education and in the time since he has been Minister for Education. This amendment is just a ploy on the part of the Opposition to make this Bill unworkable in the terms and needs as the Government sees them. As a private member of the Government Party, I have no hesitation in backing up what the Acting Minister has said. I am sure that he receives the absolute support of honourable members on this side, because what is contained in this Bill is absolutely fundamental to the policies that the Australian Labor Party put to the people. I believe that the Government has a mandate and it will carry that mandate through.

Question put -

That the clause be agreed to.

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