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Wednesday, 7 November 1973
Page: 1636

Senator Rae asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education, upon notice:

(   1 ) Is it a fact that the Prime Minister wrote an, as yet, undisclosed letter to the Karmel Committee or its Chairman; if so, did that letter give directions in relation to some aspects of the Committee 's recommendations.

(2)   In the interests of 'open Government', will the Minister arrange for the tabling in the Senate of all letters, formal or informal, written by the Prime Minister, or any other Minister, to Professor Karmel as Chairman of the Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission.

(3)   Will the Minister disclose all information which the Committee received from the Government which enabled the Committee to take Government policy into account in the preparation of its Report.

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Minister for Education has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(   1 ) Not to my knowledge.

(2)   A letter of 1 3 April 1 973 from the Minister for Education to the Chairman of the Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission about the phasing out of existing Australian Government programs for schools was tabled in the House on 30 May 1973. 1 have arranged for the tabling in the Senate of this and all letters written from the Prime Minister and the Minister for Education to the Chairman of the Interim Committee before the presentation of its report. I have no knowledge of any letters written to him by any other Minister of the Australian Government.

(3)   In addition to the material referred to in (2) above, the Interim Committee was addressed by the Minister for Education at the commencement of its initial meeting on 21 December 1972. The text of that address, which was made public at the time, is also being tabled. In the course of its inquiries the Interim Committee had discussions with officers of the Department of Education and with representatives of advisory committees associated with that Department; these are referred to in the Appendices to the report of the Interim Committee. I am not aware of any directions from the Government to the Committee other than those referred to above. The calibre of the Committee should assure anybody that they would make their own judgments and reach their own conclusions within the terms of reference.

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