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Wednesday, 3 December 1986
Page: 3264

Senator MACKLIN(3.37) —The Australian Democrats indicate that we will, on balance, support the urgency motion moved by Senator Harradine. I say `on balance' because we have some difficulty in this area. There are no members of my Party on the Senate Joint Select Committee on Video Material and, hence, we have not had access to the very extensive discussions obviously that that Committee has been able to undertake.

Senator Zakharov —It is all on public record.

Senator MACKLIN —It is, indeed, Senator. We have not been able to peruse the vast volume of material in the submissions made by various people. It would seem that if one were attempting to make a judgment on the interim report one would lean towards the fact that as the States in general have decided to await the final recommendations of the Joint Select Committee on Video Material-in the interim they have prevented the sale or hire of X-rated material within their boundaries-that as a matter of mere conformity the Australian Capital Territory and presumably the Northern Territory, if it wished to do so, would adopt the general view that has been adopted by the States which have constitutional power over the vast bulk of the population of Australia.

The urgency motion worries us at least in one respect. It seems to have an implied criticism of the Joint Select Committee on Video Material. I do not know whether Senator Harradine is concerned about the length of time that the Committee might meet, but it seemed to us that the way the urgency motion was worded cast some doubt on the operations of that Committee. We have all served on a number of committees and we are very much aware that it is almost impossible, at least from the outside, to make a judgment on a committee and its proceedings because, in opening up, some areas turn out to be more vast, complex and detailed than one would have imagined when one started. Hence, our view from outside is that this Committee has probably met the same type of operation. The difficulty, however, is that Senator Harradine is a serving member of the Committee. In his bringing forward this motion we have some misgivings on that score at least. As I have already indicated, on balance we believe that conformity with the States on this matter until the Joint Committee has reported is the best course.