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Tuesday, 16 October 1984
Page: 1729

Senator GARETH EVANS (Attorney-General)(12.10) —I think, Mr Chairman, that the same comments apply, with even more force, to Senator Lewis's rather self-consciously contrived contribution to this debate. As to Senator Harradine, I am able to say only that the intention is for there to be quite substantial advertising from the Electoral Office as to the format of the ballot paper and how to cope with it in its new shape. That is expected to take place over the last two weeks before the election date. The precise commencement date for that is a matter that I shall have to take on notice, but I shall advise Senator Harradine as directed from the Electoral Office as soon as possible on that matter. It will be the last fortnight, basically, which is thought to be sufficient time for the basic message to get across.

I do not accept the premise of Senator Lewis's question. The departmental informative advertising of government programs is not to be in any way confused with crude, partisan advertising of the kind that was all too familiar, employing taxpayers' money, under the previous Government. I am not sure whether there are any guidelines, nonetheless, that have been accepted concerning that informative advertising. I shall have to seek an answer and advise the honourable senator at some appropriate time accordingly.