Thursday 18th October 2012
Hansard of the Legislative Council
UNIVERSITY OF TASMANIA AMENDMENT BILL 2012 (No. 32)
Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.
(Section 4 amended - Continuance and incorporation of
Mr FINCH - Through my presentation I spoke about clause 5. I will not go
over the detail of what I said but it is a claim to rewrite history. Clause 5,
amending section 4, deals with the continuance and incorporation of the
university. My suggestion is that there was no continuance of the university.
The act that established the university in 1890 was abolished along with the Institute of Technology in Launceston. They were both
abolished - finito, kaput, that is it, 'all over, red rover,' - to form the new
What I would like explained to me is why it is in there. I
have presented my case as to why it should not be there as I think it is an
attempt to rewrite history.
I have lived in the north now for 40 years and I was across
this debate when it occurred in our community and it was a very strong debate
and a strong issue. I can go back here to, 'Warning on uni talks' This goes
back to 1988:
The Education Minister, Peter Rae, has urged the state's
three tertiary bodies not to allow proposed amalgamation talks to develop into
a war for control of the new state-wide university.
There was concern that these organisations were being
subsumed by the bigger University of Tasmania from Hobart.
That was the signal that went out from 1988 through to 1992, and subsequently
through the years there has always been this fight to make sure that there is
the correct recognition of what is going on in other parts of the university. I
have detailed already the figures that amplify that what is occurring is that
the development of the university in the north is not the same exponential
growth that you have in the south of the state. I am signalling that, that that
is what is occurring and that is what is being read by people, by academics, by
the people at the university, the staff, by the students in the north, that the
proper development of that place is under threat constantly and there has to be
a fight all the time to dig in and say, 'Look, recognise us properly.'
Clause 5 says, 'for the avoidance of doubt.' Who is doubting
it? Why is that in there, Leader? The university is taken to have continued in
existence under the name University
of Tasmania. The debate
that unfolded on the floor of parliament was about what the new name should be.
The best suggestion I think came from Peter Patmore, if you could just be
light-hearted for a moment. He said that it should be the University
of Launceston incorporating the University of Hobart, but he also said, 'I don't think
I will get away with that'.
All the time the talk was in 1992 that it was a new
university. The Southern Cross University was one of the names that was
suggested, and there were other names that came forward that might represent
this new university. Eventually when the council was formed and everybody
thought about what the name should be, it came back to no, no, it is about a
university in Tasmania.
Dr Goodwin - Yes, we are in Tasmania.
Mr FINCH - So as the decision was made, the new name for the new
university would be an appropriate one, the University of Tasmania.
It meant that it was the commencement of a new history. I am hoping the leader
is going to say to me that the reason we want this avoidance of doubt is that
when we look to appeal to our Asian students who might come here, to the
Chinese students, the Indian students, that they might say, hello -
Mr FINCH - this university is not a new university, this is a sandstone
Mr Valentine - That is exactly what it is about.
Mr FINCH - I hope that is what the leader is going to tell me. If he has
another story we are all in trouble. This is trying to remove that moment in
history when both the institutions were abolished by an act of this parliament to
say that they no longer virtually fold, no longer exist, but what comes out of
that is now the new university. It says, '... the University is taken to have
continued in existence ... since its establishment in 1890'. It has not. It was
abolished in 1992. It has not continued in its existence. It is a new
university. It is a different university. It just happens to have been decided
that it will retain the same name.
Mr Valentine - It's one of four sandstone universities, that's why.
Mr FINCH - I want to make the point again that representatives from that
area of the state have to bring the signals down of what people are thinking
and what people are talking about. Others might not have heard the argument. I
have heard the argument. I have had it delivered to me hot and strong. I am
delivering the message to this House. That is my job, is it not? I am
delivering the message hot and strong and I am saying that that is what has
been represented to me. These are the arguments that have been put forward and these
were the arguments that were recognised, hot and strong in 1988; in 1990 when
it unfolded; in 1992 when both organisations were abolished. The argument was
that this would be a new university.
You might say this is a picky point, but the point is it is
here, this is what people have brought to my attention and have made strong
representations to me about. I will be interested to hear what the leader has
Madam DEPUTY CHAIR - Before the honourable member resumes his seat, I suggest that
he invite honourable members to vote against the clause if they are persuaded
by your argument. I do not believe you indicated that in your presentation.
Mr FINCH - Thank you, Madam Deputy Chair. I invite members to vote against
this clause if they have a sense that what I am saying is appropriate. I cannot
understand why it is in there. It does not need to be in there and it does not
serve any purpose.
Madam Deputy Chair, I move -
That clause 5
be amended by voting against the clause.
Mr FARRELL - It may not have any great importance to the honourable member
for Rosevears but he did sort of answer part of his own question at one stage.
This is important to the alumni of the university because it removes doubt as
to the continuity of the university and therefore the validity - and here is
another Latin word that I have learnt today - testamur. The College of Arms
in London is
responsible for approving and maintaining the validity of our coat of arms and
the continuing link must be maintained to ensure the validity of all degree
certificates. Someone has written to the college and this is to remove doubt so
it is important for the alumni that this maintains the link of the university.
Ms FORREST - Madam Deputy Chair, I will be supporting this clause as it
stands. I draw your attention to the principal act, section 4, Continuance and
incorporation of University:
(1) Notwithstanding the repeal of this
Act, the Amalgamation Act, the University continues in existence under and
subject to the provisions of this Act under the name 'University of Tasmania'.
(2) The University -
(a) has perpetual succession and a
(b) may sue and be sued in its
(3) The seal is to be kept and used
only as authorised by the Council.
All courts and persons acting judicially must take judicial notice of the
imprint of the seal on a document and presume that it was duly sealed by
Then this will add new subsection (5), 'For the avoidance of
doubt, the University is taken to have continued in existence under the name 'University of Tasmania' since its establishment in
I have had representation about this from the Launceston
area. I had a discussion with one of my constituents and I said that I think
others may be jumping at shadows here. I am hoping to be an alumnus of the
university in the not too distant future, and it is important to note that this
is a continuing institution of tertiary education since 1890. This is to ensure
that is not lost.
Subsection 4(1) of the principal act makes that clear:
'Notwithstanding the repeal of this Act ...', - this is the intention. A doubts
removal clause has been deemed necessary because of some fear that it may not
be recognised in that sense, when it was clearly intended it would be. The University of Tasmania
is the University
of Tasmania - it has
campuses all around the state. At the moment it may not be growing
exponentially in the north, as it is in the south, but let me tell you that the
Cradle Coast campus is growing exponentially.
That has grown beyond belief - way above the expectations of anyone when it was
first established. It has been a godsend for that part of the state because
that is the area of the state with the least number of people getting
university degrees. We are seeing many mature age students who have never been
to university, and no-one in their family has been to university - we are
seeing a whole new cohort of students. We have parents of young people saying,
'I can get a university degree on the north-west coast, so you can go to
university too'. It is sending a fantastic message to the people up there.
It is about the University
of Tasmania, it is about recognising
the University of
Tasmania as an ongoing
entity since 1890. Whether we need a doubts removal clause or not, I am taking
the advice provided on this. I do not think we need to be jumping at shadows
and I will be supporting the clause as it is.
Mr FINCH - I think that it is only fair that if I have three speaks, I use
at least two of them.
Mr FINCH - The agreement with my move to present this amendment is not
resonating through the chamber, but I hear your explanation. In any of the
notes I have read, I have not had that detail, and it has not come across my
purview as I have carried out my research. The sandstone is not a figment of my
imagination. The member for Nelson spoke to me about this 'sandstone history'
that is attractive to students. As I worked through it, it did fall into place.
I withdraw the amendment.
Clause 5 agreed to.