Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 February 1989)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 February 1989)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Thursday 16 February 1989 A second monopoly in that country is also to be broken. I refer to conveyancing for payment, which has been solely the preserve of the legal profession. It will be allowed to be carried out by other bodies. As the article says, it is hoped that this will provide cheaper deals for the ordinary house buyer. Such moves in this Northern Territory would do exactly the same thing for our people, as I have said many times before. Another action which Mrs Thatcher is proposing is in the British hospital and medical system, which we all know about. Some 3200f the big hospitals will be able to break away from the control of local .health authorities and become their own agents, selling their services and operating like private hospitals in many ways. That is certainly of interest. Mrs Thatcher's moves in relation to conveyancing have not entirely pleased the British legal profession. However, she is a Prime Minister who cares about people and she is not afraid to tread on the toes of some people when she can see that the ordinary citizen will get a better deal. We should be doing the same thing there. Mr Speaker, 6 weeks or so ago, a young lad came into my office. He said that he was from Sydney and wanted to go to school in Alice Springs in Year 11. His complaint was that, if he were prepared to go out and work for a cleaner in after-school hours to earn a few thousand dollars in a year, the amount of Austudy money he received would be reduced. This was an eye-opener to me because I thought Austudy was granted for tertiary study only, but he assured me that that was not the case. His story was that he had left Sydney because he suffered from asthma and both his mother and father smoked and would not give up. He said that he had spent 3 or 4 weeks in hospital in Sydney and then had come to Alice Springs and was to get Austudy assistance as an independent student. From one point of view I admired him, because he was prepared to work to supplement his income. He said that rentals of flats in Alice Springs were much higher than in Sydney and that he would be hard-pressed. However, he was prepared to go out and work to supplement his income. His complaint was that, if he did so, he would lose $1 of Austudy for every $2 he earned. I am not complaining about that principJe, but what he went on to say staggered me. He said that large numbers of young people in Sydney were leaving their parents' homes, moving into flats and receiving the Austudy allowance. Mr Speaker, what on earth is this country coming to? I put the matter to Senator Grant Tambling, who happened to call in at my office. I believe that he is now carrying out some further research into the matter. He said that Austudy is not always available and that students at tertiary level are means tested. However, if they establish themselves away from home or complain that they have been kicked out of home for a year, they can obtain the Austudy allowance. Mr Speaker, I bring that matter to the attention of this House so that honourable members can consider it and keep their eyes and ears open. Really, it is a federal matter, but it seems to me to be a blatant abuse of a scheme. I think a review of the scheme is badly needed and it concerns me that children as young as 16, which was about how old this lad seemed to be, are leaving home and setting themselves up in flats and so forth. I believe that this gives them an ideal opportunity to get themselves into strife and trouble. If thejl are students, they need to discipline themselves and home is the best place for them. They are freeloading off the taxpayers of this country. No doubt Austudy was put into place with the very best intentions 5607

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