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Wednesday, 26 November 1986
Page: 2796


Senator ARCHER(4.50) —I wish to acknowledge briefly the work that Senator Elstob has done with the Joint Committee on Publications. It is a truly apolitical committee. I regard this report as another example of a parliamentary committee working in the true interest of the Parliament. For over 10 years this Committee has very closely monitored the printing needs, processes and costs of the Parliament. It is worth reporting that in 1977-78 the cost of the Parliamentary Papers was $562,000-odd. In 1984-85 it was still $562,000-odd, while at the same time providing an adequate distribution. I would not go to the sweeping extent to which Senator Gareth Evans goes in hyperbole but I would go so far as to say that I doubt that there is another committee that has taken so much trouble to ensure that it has kept its costs within reasonable limits. I doubt that any other committee can say that in 10 years it had been able to curb the costs of what it was responsible for to exactly the same amount.

Information communication has advanced dramatically over the last 10 years. We need to remember that in the next decade it is likely to advance even further. So most of all this Committee, the Parliament and all those associated with it have to make sure that they keep their options open and keep the whole situation as flexible as possible. I hope that the matter will be kept under scrutiny. I pay a tribute to the secretarial staff and again to the Chairman.

Question resolved in the affirmative.