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Wednesday, 5 December 1973
Page: 2467

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (Western Australia) (Leader of the Australian Country Party in the Senate) - I rise on behalf of the Australian Country Party to say that we will support the motion put forward by Senator Rae because of the remarks -

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Wilkinson - Order! Senator Drake-Brockman, there has been no motion put forward by Senator Rae. The motion has been moved by the Minister for the Media (Senator Douglas McClelland).

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN -We will oppose the motion moved by the Minister for the Media. I put it that way. It is the same thing.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - No, it is not.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN -We will oppose the motion for the reasons mentioned by Senator Rae. I listened very carefully to the remarks of the Minister for the Media as to why he thought that the Government should move that the Committee not press with the amendments that it had previously carried. I would have thought that the Minister would spell out in detail the reasons why the Government was opposed to the amendments instead of putting up the same proposals that we heard earlier in the debate. I want to say quite firmly that the Country Party supports the Karmel Committee report and most of its recommendations. We do not seek to destroy the concept of the Schools Commission in any way.

Senator Poke - That is exactly what you are doing.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - I do not think that the honourable senator could have read the report. Nor are we trying to destroy the flexibility or the working of the Commission. All that the Opposition Parties are endeavouring to do is to take away from whoever is Minister for Education- I am not talking about the present Minister because tomorrow we could have another Minister -

Senator Rae - The Minister of the Government party.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN -Yes, or any other Minister, should there be a change in government, the sole right of appointing personally -

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why did you not do that in regard to the Universities Commission?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - I am asked why we did not do this on a previous occasion. Every time a committee or a commission is appointed, I have heard members of the Labor Party seek to have on that committee or commission some Labor Party representatives, some union representatives or representatives from some other organisation. We are seeking to have representatives of the teachers and representatives of the state school parents and citizens associations on the Commission.

Senator McLaren - The teachers do not back you on that issue.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - I ask the honourable senator to look at page 158 of the Karmel Committee report. It states:

In submissions to and discussions with the Committee the Australian Teachers Federation and the Australian Council of State School Organisations argued strongly for the right to nominate representatives as members of the Commission.

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Read the next sentence.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN -That is what we are suggesting.

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Read the next sentence.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - I am making the speech. The Minister can read every line that he wants to and take it all together. I believe the Government has given serious consideration to appointing members of this Commission. I believe that it came down in favour of the idea that if it carried on with the proposal of the Opposition it could run into too much trouble. It thought that it was not worth the trouble. All I want to say is that my Party believes that every section of education should be represented on this Commission.

Senator O'Byrne - You would appoint 150 members.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN -No, we did not say that.

Senator Poyser - How will you choose between the parents and citizens organisations? There are about eight of those.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - Apparently, the Government to which the honourable senator belongs has said that it is too hard to do that. So it will not go on with it. For these reasons the Country Party is opposed to the motion moved by the Minister for the Media.

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