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Wednesday, 5 December 1973
Page: 2486

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Senator McManushas suggested to the Senate that the issue before the chamber this afternoon is the credibility of the Minister for Education, Mr Beazley, and the Prime Minister, Mr Whitlam. With due respect to the honourable senator I would suggest -

Senator Rae - That is no longer in doubt, is it? They have lost it.

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -If honourable senators opposite will give me a chance to do so I will prove that they have misquoted and misreported them. I hope I will be given a chance. I suggest that the real issue is whether the Opposition intends to go to the barricades with Mr Malcolm Fraser or go to water with Senator Rae. Let us go back to the bold words of a few days ago when threats were being made by Mr Malcolm Fraser in the other place and in various sections of this building, including the Press headquarters, where we are told he had some sort of a confrontation with the alleged spokesman on educational matters for the Liberal Party of Australia. I would like to quote from the House of Representatives Hansard of 27 November. Discussing this Bill in another place, Mr Malcolm Fraser said:

The Opposition is opposing clause 66.

Honourable senators will recall that clause 66 of the Bill is the provision which seeks to remove the continuance beyond the end of 1973 of the special privileges which the top schools have come to expect from Liberal-Country Party governments over the years. I would like honourable senators opposite to listen closely to what Mr Malcolm Fraser went on to say. I have awaited some sort of declaration from honourable senators opposite- the great adherents of consistency, the people who like to quote the words of one of the Labor Party's Ministers against the words of another of its Ministers- as to what he said. I would like them to tell us whether they apply the same standards to themselves and whether we are going to see an application of these standards in this debate today. I go back to what Mr Malcolm Fraser said on 27 November, which was just last week. He said:

The Opposition is opposing clause 66. All this clause does is to limit legislation standing on the statute books. We would hope our attitude would be followed through with more likely effect in another place.

That is what Mr Malcolm Fraser hopes. I waited with bated breath throughout a maudlin display of phoney indignation by Senator Rae this afternoon for some solid confirmation of an intent to carry out this threat, but it did not arrive. We also did not get anything from Senator McManus. I can only conclude from the fact that there was no repetition of this threat this afternoon that the Opposition and perhaps the Australian Democratic Labor Party are in headlong retreat from the barricades which they were prepared to man last week and that they are attempting to cover this retreat with a torrent of words about alleged broken promises.

Senator McManusmade great play of the greater faith he has in Mr Beazley than in Mr Whitlam. I take it from that that he would be prepared to accept, because of his great faith in Mr Beazley, that Mr Beazley was giving an honest statement of intent when in the other place on 27 September 1972 he moved an amendment to the States Grants (Schools) Bill 1972, which clause 66 of this Bill seeks to amend. His amendment was in the following terms:

That all words after 'That' be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: the House, while not refusing a second reading to the Bill, is of the opinion that it should provide for the establishment of an Australian schools commission to examine and determine the needs of students in government and non-government primary, secondary and technical schools, and recommend grants which the Commonwealth should make to the States to assist in meeting the requirement of all school age children on the basis of needs and priorities and that the application of this policy could not allow the continued acceptance of the provisions of the Bill and that therefore grants should not be made on the basis provided in the Bill in respect of any year after 1973.'

Senator Devitt - Who moved the amendment?

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Mr Beazley.

Senator McManus - Was that his personal opinion or his opinion on behalf of the Party?

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -That amendment was moved by Mr Beazley, whom Senator McManus is prepared to accept without reservation.

Senator McManus - I accept his personal opinion but not his Party opinion.

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -That is a statement to which Mr Beazley, in his capacity as the Labor Party's shadow Minister for Education, gave voice in an amendment he moved to the legisation we are now proposing to amend by this very Bdi. Senator McManus and Senator Rae have had the gall to suggest, while praising Mr Beazley 's integrity, that there has been some inconsistency and some going back on undertakings by the present Government. All they can point to is a statement made by Mr Whitlam some time last year prior to making his policy speech. I freely admit that it is not consistent with what he ultimately said in his policy speech. But can it be seriously put to this chamber or to the people of this country that the electors were in any doubt on 2 December about what they were going to get under Labor's policy? What is demanded of Senator McManus and Senator Rae if they are to sustain their charge that we have fooled the people over this matter is that they point to something in the policy speech itself, which is the basis of our mandate, that is inconsistent with what we are doing now. Neither of them has attempted to do that. All we have had from Senator Rae is, first of all, a mixture of bold, indignant rhetoric combined with, as is his custom, almost tearful complaints about the terrible things that the Government is doing.

Of course, if we are in some sort of a contest about consistency and if we are to be involved in saying that we are held to what one of our Ministers who was in conflict with another Minister has said, I think we are entitled to ask Senator Rae today whether he is the spokesman for the Opposition on education matters or whether the spokesman is a man in another place who is alleged to be the spokesman on labour relations and who has made extraordinary progress lately, I have noted, in his words on labour relations. He has adopted what appears to be a tone of sweet moderation. In fact, I would say that he has progressed from the Neanderthal to the antediluvian. The progressive Mr Malcolm Fraser is making remarkable progress. But when he steps outside his shadow Ministry, as he so frequently does, he likes to speak also on the defence of the country against the invading yellow hordes. He cannot quite forget that he was once Minister for Defence. When he intrudes into the field of education he goes back to his natural Neanderthal position. Are we on the Government side of the chamber, when looking to what we can expect from the Opposition in matters of education, to take seriously the threats of this bold warrior,

Malcolm Fraser, who would risk all, who would go to the barricades, who would challenge us to a double dissolution and who had promised us, presumably without any consultation with the nominal spokesman for the Opposition on education matters, that there will be a real showdown here? Are we to listen to him or are we to listen to Senator Rae? It is very easy for the other shadow Minister for Education, Mr Malcolm Fraser, to threaten the ultimate contest in the other chamber, where he knows that he does not have the numbers, but in this chamber, where we come down to the nitty gritty and where the Opposition does have the numbers, presumably there has been some retreat from the barricades.

Senator Wright - Why does the honourable senator say that?

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Will Senator Wright assure me that there is going to be an attempt made in this chamber to have clause 66 deleted from the Bill?

Senator Wright - Senator Raehas announced the amendment that we are proposing.

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -He has not. Senator Rae did not -

Senator Rae - You obviously did not listen to anything else I said. You missed that as well.

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Would you clear up my confusion by telling me now whether the Opposition proposes the deletion of clause 66?

Senator Rae - You have asked me to say many things -

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am asking you one thing. Will you tell me that?

Senator Rae -You have asked me to say many things about broken promises. I presume you will move that I be given leave to speak.

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Senator, willyou tell me that?

Senator Rae -I look forward to that opportunity.

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - It may save me from having to say anything more. I will sit down if you will assure me now that the Opposition proposes the deletion of clause 66.

Senator Rae - Will you move that I speak?

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am asking you: Will you tell me that?

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Byrne)- Order! Senator Mcclelland, would you kindly address the Chair?

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Mr Acting Deputy President, it is clear that the threats, the dire predictions, of taking us on, of challenging us before the electorate, which fell from the bold Mr Fraser and from the less bold but rather talkative Mr Snedden a few days ago have gone and that they have had second thoughts about these bold plans and that we are not to get from the Senate -

Senator Rae - Do you propose to accept our amendment?

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Senator Rae, I ask you -


Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Over and over again in this debate the Opposition senators have quoted and misquoted statements designed to show a conflict between Ministers of the Government and various statements made by them, and they want to hold us to those statements.

Senator Rae - I rise on a point of order. It has been suggested that there have been misquotations. I ask that they be identified.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENTThere is no point of order.

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is very unwelcome to Senator Rae to have it pointed out to this chamber that all we have had from him is a lot of windy rhetoric that does not add up to anything. It does not add up to anything. A week ago these people were prepared to challenge us before the people of Australia about this Bill. They were prepared to say: 'If you will not give money, as we wanted to give money, to the privileged schools in this country, you cannot have your Bill'.

Senator Rae - We never said that. That is a total misrepresentation.

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -That was the purport of their stand. Their stand was calculated to have this effect but now, it is perfectly clear, despite all the windy rhetoric -

Senator Rae - You are a liar.

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Mr Acting Deputy President, despite-

Senator Rae - You are a liar.

Senator Cant - I rise on a point of order. I demand a withdrawal of that statement from Senator Rae. It is unparliamentary and it is not true.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENTSenator Rae made an allegation about Senator

James McClelland in unparliamentary terms. It was provoked by the heat of the moment. I think that Senator Rae might be prepared to indicate that he thinks that Senator James McClelland is not stating the facts correctly. Use of that term is unparliamentary.

Senator Cant - I ask for a withdrawal of the statement that Senator James McClelland is a liar. That is the statement that was made. I ask for a withdrawal.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT- The term has been found to be offensive by Senator James McClelland. I think that the honourable senator might care to withdraw the phrase and if he wishes to indicate in other words that are reasonably acceptable-

Senator Wheeldon - I take a point of order. It was an unparliamentary statement that was made by Senator Rae and I ask that the same treatment be given to the Government as is given to the Opposition.

The ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER- I call on Senator Rae to withdraw the expression which has been found to be offensive by Senator James McClelland. I call Senator Rae.

Senator Wheeldon - I take a point of order. Mr Acting Deputy President, you invited him to express himself in another way. You are quite out of order in doing that. All you are entitled to do is to direct him to withdraw his unparliamentary remark and to invite him to do nothing whatsoever.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT- I am inviting Senator Rae to withdraw the expression that he used in relation to Senator James McClelland. It has been found to be offensive and is unparliamentary.

Senator Rae - I withdraw the unparliamentary expression which I used. I will, at the close of Senator James McClelland 's speech, seek leave to make a personal explanation in relation to all matters that drew forth the response.

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I can readily understand the confusion of the Opposition in this debate. After all, it makes them very uncomfortable to have made the bold threats which one or other of the Opposition spokesmen for education in the other place made and then over here when it comes down to the nitty gritty to have to go to water. That is precisely what the Opposition proposes to do. It is not prepared to face the judgment of the voters of Australia for depriving the needy schools of $700m in order that the privileged schools should continue to get the favoured treatment which they have come to expect from the Opposition- the Liberal and Country Party and Democratic Labor Party members of this place.

Senator McManus - When is the double dissolution?

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -When Senator Raewants it. Let him declare it on.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENTOrder! Senator Rae, are you asking for leave to make a statement?

Senator Rae - I seek the opportunity to make a personal explanation.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Are you asking for leave or do you claim that you have been misrepresented?

Senator Rae - I claim that I have been misrepresented.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT- The honourable senator claims that he has been misrepresented. In those circumstances he may speak and indicate in what sense he has been misrepresented.

Senator Rae - Thank you, Mr Acting Deputy President. I claim to have been misrepresented by Senator James McClelland in a series of remarks which were totally without foundation. It was suggested that he would challenge me to do what I did not do in my speech, which was to refer to the policy speech and to the promise that was made by the Government. I did that. I now seek leave to table the full list of promises to which I have referred. They are covered by 3 pages plus a cutting.

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - You want to add an additional 5 minutes to your second reading speech.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENTOrder! The honourable senator is claiming that he was misrepresented and is explaining the circumstances of the misrepresentation.

Senator Rae - I would rather seek leave to have the pages and the cutting incorporated in Hansard.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The documents read as follows)-

Speech by E. G. Whitlam, Festival Hall, 2 May 1972

We want to remove the inequalities in Australian education, and these are the greatest in the non-government sector, and my Party believes that where the need is greatest, there, this assistance should be given. We will not repeal or reduce any educational benefit which is already being paid. We will confirm any which there are already . . . '.

Address by E. G. Whitlam to Catholic Luncheon Club, 20 June 1972

The ALP has never voted against any bill proposing Commonwealth aid for education and it will support any forms of benefit already existing. '

Speech by K. Beazley at Haberfield, 27 October 1972

Whispering campaigns to the contrary, no private school under Labor will in future get less than the per capita grant it gets now (1972).'

Report in Daily Telegraph, 28 October 1972 on Public Meeting at Haberfield

No private school would get less under a Labor Government than the per capita grant it received now. '

E.   G. Whitlam's Polley Speech, 13 November 1972

A Federal Labor Government will:

1.   Continue all grants under Commonwealth legislation throughout 1973.

3.   Allocate the increased grants for 1974 and subsequent years on the basis of recommendations prepared and published by the Schools Commission. '

Letter from Dr A. S. Holmes, Principal, Oakburn College Questions for Mr K. Beazley, 20 November 1972

Is it the intention of the Federal Labor Party to continue Per Capita Aid to Independent Schools for 1974 and following years?

Answer Yes

Letter from E. C. Whitlam to Mr J. Dixon, Chairman, N.C.I.S. 13 December 1972 (As printed in Hansard, Tuesday, 27 November 1973:)

The Interim Committee is being asked to bring forward recommendations for additional Commonwealth expenditure over the years 1974 and 1975.'

Per capita grants to non-government schools for the year 1973 will be paid at the rates already approved for 1973 under the provisions of that Act, Le. $62 per primary pupil and $104 per secondary pupil. Commencing in 1974 additional Commonwealth contributions towards the running costs of nongovernment schools will be determined on the basis of relative need as assessed by the Interim Committee and subsequently by the Australian Schools Commission. '

Terms of Reference, Interim Committee for Australian Schools Commission, 12 December 1972

P.3 'The grants recommended by the Interim Committee will be:

(a)   for the period 1 January 1 974 to 3 1 December 1 975;

(b)   in addition to existing Commonwealth commitments;

(c)   directed towards increased expenditure on schools and not in substitution for continuing efforts by the States and non-government school authorities;

P.6 Existing Commonwealth Commitments

The terms of reference specified that grants recommended by the Committee were to be in addition to existing Commonwealth commitment. '

Minister to Karmel Committee to be phased out.'

P.7 ( 1. 1 9) Recurrent Grants

The rates for 1973, determined before the present Australian Government took office, were $62 per primary pupil and $104 per secondary pupil. The Government has indicated to the Committee that, although grants are being made at these rates during 1973, after that year the basic level of support for non-government schools will not be pre-determined, and the nature and level of support for recurrent expenditure during 1974 and 1975 will be recommended by the Committee, having regard to the overall assessment of needs and priorities and to the pre-existing situation. In subsequent years, the nature and level of support for non-governmental schools will be a matter for consideration by the Schools Commission. The Committee believes that there are some non-government schools for which no case can be made on an overall relative needs basis for this type of Commonwealth support However, abrupt termination of support may well place these schools in some difficulty. Accordingly, the Committee proposes a phasing out of recurrent grants for them. '

Hansard, 30 August 1973

The final decision on the recommendations in the Karmel Committee's report rests with the Parliamentary Labor Party when it meets to consider the legislation. I am sure that it will be sensitive to the Party 's obligations. '


Today (Wed)

Burcher, Barmedam Beckom, Mirool Ariah Park, Temora

Thursday, November 23

Ardlethan, Kamarah, Moombooldool, Barellan, Binya, Yenda

Friday, November 24

Deniliquin, Hay, Hillston

Independent schools will die in 10 years unless there is a new deal.

Al Grassby and his colleagues are pledged to that new deal which will immediately give another 1 5 per cent on top of existing grants and aids.

Authorised by J. R. Hallam, Griffith, NSW 2680.

Senator Rae - I further claim that I was misrepresented when it was suggested that the Opposition had taken one attitude in the House of Representatives and a different attitude here. I did explain during my speech what the Opposition will do here and why, and the fact that it was not possible to take that course in the House of Representatives. The scurillous suggestions made by Senator James McClelland are totally untrue. The facts are these- and I state them very concisely- that in the House of Representatives it was not possible to move an amendment such as can be moved by way of a request in this chamber. We will move the request in this chamber at the Committee stage of the debate on this Bill. That was not possible in the second reading debate in the House of Representatives.

Senator Cant - I take a point of order. You let him go; you let him finish. He has no right to make those statements. He has no right to debate the issue.


Senator, kindlyresume your seat.

Senator Cant - That was not a personal explanation at all.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENTSenator Rae, you are entitled to make a personal explanation but not to debate the issue.

Senator Rae - I do not wish to debate the issue, Sir. I just wish to explain what was misrepresented in relation to me. It was suggested that I have in some way changed my position from the position taken in the House of Representatives.

Senator Wheeldon - I am rising on a point of order. This is not a legitimate personal explanation. We have already extended the time of Senator Rae. He knows that he failed to say what he was supposed to say and now he is seeking to make another speech, purporting to be a personal explanation. It is not a personal explanation at all. He is debating the second reading of the Bill again, making up for the things he did not say the first time. You must sit him down if he keeps this up.

Senator Cant - Mr Acting Deputy President -

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENTOrder, Senator Cant. I am speaking to the point of order. I have indicated to Senator Rae that he is entitled to make a personal explanation but not to debate the matter. It would be within the reasonable discretion of the Chair whether he has accepted that invitation. Senator Rae, have you concluded or nearly concluded your remarks? Kindly keep your remarks to the details of the alleged misrepresentation.

Senator Rae - I had concluded.

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