Tuesday, 19 August 2008

I think that is the wrong attitude

Sir Robert Wallace (Vice-Chancellor of Sydney University): They [the "Federal People", he calls them. I think he means the Commonwealth] don't understand the problem. There should be no difficulty at all. Sydney has put in for nothing it has not absolutely needed....if you can get us some freedom from this long round about way, and expensive and stupid way of doing things, we can get ahead. What has the State to do with it?

Chairman (Professor RC Mills, Chair of the Universities Commission -UC): I don't think the universities have been held up because of any requirements.

Sir Wallace: Could you use your influence with the State government?

UC Secretary, Mr Hook: Are you in a position to tell us what you want the Premier to agree to?

Wallace: To leave us alone.

Chairman: The delay at the moment is that you must have some plans and you won't tell us about them...We have to certify for the Prime Minister that it is essential..."

Wallace: What I am asking is that you give us the money and be done with it.

Chairman: It is a large sum of money and when the Government says "we gave this subsidy, did the universities find it all right?" we must be able to say something more than just "Trust the Universities".

Wallace: I think that is the wrong attitude.

(Conversation at the Conference of the Universities Commission with Vice Chancellors of Australia held at 119 Phillips Street Sydney 4-6 September 1946. Minutes accidentally filed in the National Archives with the Minutes of the Conference with the National Union of Australian University Students -NUAUS - in 1946)

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