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Wednesday, 21 November 1973
Page: 1983

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - The Government regards this proposed amendment as yet another restriction being imposed by the Opposition on the Minister and therefore objects to it. Perhaps it is not consequential upon the amendment successfully moved by Senator McManus yesterday; nonetheless the proposal now put by Senator Rae is related to that amendment. Again it is not my intention, Senator McManus having indicated his support for Senator Rae's amendment, to divide the Committee. However, the Government says that this amendment will limit the Minister's discretion in choosing full time members by requiring that one of the maximum of 3 members will be drawn from persons nominated by particular non-government school authorities.

Presumably those authorities in nominating the 3 members proposed under clause 4a (c) would have to consider whether the persons concerned were likely to be available full time. Such a restriction adds a further difficulty, as the Government sees it, in the establishment of an effective Schools Commission. The appointment of up to 3 full time members in addition to the Chairman is one of the measures proposed to take account of the greater complexity of operations in respect of schools as compared with universities. The considerations which determine the selection of a full time member are often quite different from those applying to a part time member. The Minister needs greater flexibility than this amendment will give him. For those reasons the Government opposes the proposal. However, as I have indicated, we realise that the weight of numbers in this chamber on this aspect is against us. While expressing our opposition, it is not my intention to divide the Committee.

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