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Wednesday, 21 November 1973
Page: 1984

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - The Government opposes the amendment. I agree with Senator McManus that it is merely a consequential amendment as a result of a decision of the Committee yesterday. However, Senator Rae seemed to assume that the Government automatically would accept that there would be a Commission of 15 members as proposed yesterday in the amendment. I do not want the honourable senator to think that the Government will accept automatically the Committee's decision of yesterday. This being a consequential amendment, I again indicate the Government's opposition to it; but, knowing that the combined Opposition in this chamber will vote against us, it is not my intention to call for a division on this amendment. I have indicated to both Senator Rae and Senator McManus that it is my intention to call for a division on the next amendment to be moved by Senator Rae.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 13.

13.   ( 1 ) The functions of the Commission are to inquire into, and to furnish information and advice to the Minister with respect to, the following matters:-

(a)   The establishing of acceptable standards for buildings, equipment, teaching and other staff and other facilities at government and non-government primary and secondary schools in Australia, and means of attaining and maintaining those standards;

(b)   The needs of such schools in respect of buildings, equipment, staff and other facilities, and the respective priorities to be given to the satisfying of those various needs;

(c)   Matters in connexion with the grant by Australia of financial assistance to the States for and in respect of schools and school systems and to schools in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, including matters relevant to the necessity for financial assistance to be so granted by Australia, the conditions upon which financial assistance should be so granted and the amount and allocation of any financial assistance so granted; and

(3)   In the exercise of its functions, the Commission shall have regard to such matters as are relevant, including the need for improving primary and secondary educational facilities in Australia and of providing increased and equal opportunities for education in government and non-government schools in Australia, and, in particular, shall have regard to-

(a)   the primary obligation, in relation to education, for governments to provide and maintain government school systems that are of the highest standard and are open, without fees or religious tests, to all children;

(4)   For the purpose of the performance of its functions, the Commission-

(a)   shall consult with representatives of the States, with authorities in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory responsible for primary education or secondary education in either or both of those Territories and with persons, bodies and authorities conducting non-government schools in Australia, and may consult with such other persons, bodies and authorities as the Commission thinks necessary; and

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