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Tuesday, 29 May 1984
Page: 2076






Debate resumed.

Senator GARETH EVANS —Let me finish by saying that there will be differences of opinion about these matters so long as parliamentary debate in this country continues. There will be differences of opinion about the degree of government paternalism which it is appropriate to adopt in legislation of this kind. There will be different degrees of willingness to leave it to the freedom of the individual to go to hell his own way when it comes to getting access to this kind of material. There will be differences of opinion about the extent to which the standards as to what adults are to see and read in this country should be governed by what might be available to children were they to be inadequately supervised by their parents in this respect.

I simply ask the Senate to recognise that the Government acknowledges the differences of opinion that exist and will continue to exist in this area. What we have done is simply to act in good faith to solve, as best we can, a difficult social problem and to do so in consultation and co-operation, so far as it is possible in a federal system to get that, with other governments. We will keep developments in this area under close review. We do not pretend, in anything I have said or anyone in the Government has said, that we have uttered the last word so far as censorship regulation or legislation is concerned. We are happy for this to be the subject of ongoing concern and ongoing scrutiny by this Parliament. But we do ask honourable senators to recognise the nature of what is involved in this legislative package and not simply to throw it out the window and to remove the controls which do now exist in a very workable way without very careful thought as to the implications of what is being done.