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MR STEFANIAK: Mr Moore, I will certainly cross that bridge if and when we come to it. It seems to me that, largely as a result of discussions that were held yesterday, most of the issues have been canvassed and most of the students are satisfied. Ms Vardon is the chief executive of the department, but she does not operate from Telopea Park High School. She is within the system. As I said to the students, I would think that she would be a simpler and more appropriate source for any further mediation that people might desire. I note that three of the students still seem to want an independent mediator. I am not sure what is occurring now; but I will look at that issue again, if I need to. I think that goodwill has been exercised on all sides now, as it should be. I hope that the issue will largely resolve itself in the next day without any further need for any outside interference at all.
Australian National Eisteddfod Society - Funding
MR HIRD: Mr Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister for Arts and Heritage, Mr Humphries. Minister, the previous Labor Government ceased funding to the eisteddfod. What has the new Government done about this? What does the Minister see as the role for the eisteddfod?
MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Mr Hird for the question. Members will be aware that, earlier this year, there was some controversy about a decision by the previous Minister - admittedly, on the advice of the Cultural Council - not to fund the Australian National Eisteddfod Society for 1995. I had cause to regret that decision. I felt that that decision was a little short-sighted. I have had discussions with the Cultural Council about it since that time and have made a decision that I believe will bridge some of the problems the Eisteddfod Society has faced. To be fair to the Cultural Council, it felt that the Eisteddfod Society was relying overly heavily on the handout from government and not making a conscious effort to obtain resources from its very considerable pool of people who were offering in some way to support the society. For example, those entering the many and varied sections of the eisteddfod each year were charged a very low entry fee - rather lower, I am advised, than those being charged in other States. It was suggested that some effort might be made to put those onto a more commercial footing.
The suggestion was also made that there was a problem with the society not really looking for sponsorship and support; that there were very many members of the community who were involved with the Eisteddfod Society as supporters of various sorts; and that money might well have been available had some attempt been made to secure it. So, Mr Speaker, the Government was faced with those reasons for that decision. We felt, however, that the - - -
MR SPEAKER: Order! I suggest that, if somebody asks a question, they might listen to the answer.