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Tuesday, 20 November 1973
Page: 1939

Senator RAE (Tasmania) - I wish to respond to the mention of another amendment which has been foreshadowed. As I understand it, Senator McManus has foreshadowed that if the amendment moved by me is defeated then he will move a further amendment.

Senator McManus - That is correct.

Senator RAE - I simply indicate on behalf of the Opposition that we shall pursue our amendment. But if it is not accepted by the Senate, then as a second best, so far as the Liberal and Country Party Opposition parties are concerned, we will support the amendment to be moved by Senator McManus, whilst still asserting that the suggested structuring we have advanced is believed to be the best. I also mention that this type of community involvement is not something new on the part of Liberals as has been suggested by one or two Government speakers. In fact, the Minister for Education in New South Wales, Mr Willis, and the Minister for Education in Victoria, Mr Thompson, have taken active steps in relation to the development of community involvement in those States in relation to education.

Senator Millinermade an interpretation of one of the amendments which, perhaps, is academic if we are not likely to achieve the passage of our amendment. But he misread our amendment which provides in paragraph (b) that the Australian Education Council should select 6 members, of whom 2 shall be from the parent group and 1 shall be a person involved in the special education of handicapped children. I think that Senator Milliner just misread that. Senator Mulvihill misquoted what was said by Archbishop Young, perhaps because he did not have the full text of what was said with him. I would like to read the full context of what Archbishop Young said at that part of his remarks which Senator Mulvihill quoted:

Senator Devitt - When was this said?

Senator RAE - It was said in Launceston some 2 or 3 weeks ago on 27 October. The full context of what Archbishop Young said is as follows:

Senator Rae -

I was present-

I read with interest Hansard's report of your recent contribution to the debate and I thank you for the principles and proposals you voiced.

Then he went on immediately to say:

Now the exercise of analysis and amendment going forward is a tribute, not a niggardly, unappreciative reaction, to the importance, value and many excellencies of the Report and of the subsequent Cabinet decisions.

What he was doing was commending the debate. I think that there is a significant difference between that report and the impression that was given in the newspaper from which no doubt Senator Mulvihill was quoting. Throughout the newspaper report, almost in its entirety, there was misquotation, quotation out of context or unattributed quotation. I do not blame Senator Mulvihill. I just wanted to have those remarks recorded in Hansard. Finally, I would like to refer to the fact that quite a bit of misunderstanding has arisen in the way that it arose- I use this as an example- with the Blackburn Technical School Mothers Club. They wrote a letter to me dated 2 December. It was received by me during the first few days of November so I take it it was meant to be dated 2 November. It is stated in the letter:

For this to be effectively and practically achieved, it is imperative that representation on the Commission comes from parent teacher organisations, which have to deal with problems at classroom level- and therefore have first hand knowledge of them, and the effect they have on our children.

We are deeply concerned that the Bill faces defeat or amendment in the Senate, and that our parent organisations, which could contribute a great deal in resourceful ideas to education administration, will be denied representation if this happens.

This misunderstanding was generated throughout Australia. I use that as but one example. I received telegrams from teachers organisation and parent groups all over Australia which thought and were induced to think that our amendments were going to deny them representation. In fact, we guarantee them representation by our amendment.

I shall not at this stage refer to the various other bodies for which representation has been called. But the Victorian Federation of State School Mothers' Clubs, the New South Wales Federation of Parent and Citizens Associations and the New South Wales Teachers' Federation all wanted involvement. They used the word representation' in many of their journals and letters earlier this year in expressing a desire for representation on these bodies. I wished to make those points in response to the remarks that had been made about the amendments I have moved.

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