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Thursday, 10 May 1984
Page: 1933

Senator CROWLEY —My question is directed to the Attorney-General as the Minister representing the Special Minister of State. Has his attention been drawn to the Clancy column in the National Times of 6 May 1984 in which an item gives advice or instruction for the transfer of inscribed stock? It reads:

Where the transferee is a female the words spinster, married woman, widow, whichever is applicable, to be used. Where the transferee is a male, occupation is to be stated.

Can the Attorney-General comment about this item with his usual circumspection? Can he advise whether such advice or instructions on forms will be addressed by the Government's examination and review of all forms?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I did see the Clancy item. I think it came from a Melbourne Port Authority instruction, which is no doubt a source of considerable embarrassment to my Victorian ministerial colleagues and a demonstration that, no matter how earnestly we may pursue, as a party and as governments in our respective jurisdictions, non-sexist results in these areas, it is very difficult indeed to ensure that quite grotesque travesties of respect for women do not continue to appear in official documents of this kind. There is something known, I am told, as an SF program, a simpler forms program-I hope it was not preceded by a simpler forms analysis-which is proceeding in the Department of the Special Minister of State and which I understand is likely to result in some productive non-sexism in future documentation as it is produced.