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Friday, 20 February 1987
Page: 401

(Question No. 1046)


Senator Peter Baume asked the Minister for Education, upon notice, on 1 May 1986:

(1) Has the Minister for Education's attention been drawn to the publication entitled ``Your Rights-1985'' by a John Bennett on behalf of a body styling itself the Australian Civil Liberties Union.

(2) Is this organisation a genuine civil liberties organisation.

(3) Do the Australian Council for Civil Liberties, the peak body of Council of Civil Liberties, reject this organisation.

(4) Does the publication contain anti-semitic and pro-Nazi propaganda denying that the holocaust did not occur in Nazi Germany.

(5) Are any Commonwealth funds used to support the provisions of this publication for school libraries.

(6) Will the Minister warn educational institutions and their libraries which are under the Department's administration of the anti-semitic content of the publication.


Senator Ryan —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) (3) and (4). Although these questions are not relevant to my portfolio, I want to make clear my abhorrence of any anti-semitic statements. Concerning this particular publication, the honourable senator may wish to refer to a Question Without Notice asked of the then Attorney-General on 27 March 1984 (Senate Hansard p. 689) concerning a similar publication entitled ``Your Rights-1984''.

(5) The Libraries element of the Commonwealth's Capital Grants Program which provided funds for library resources within schools was discontinued in 1986. As the selection of appropriate resource materials is considered to be the responsibility of individual schools, I am unable to ascertain whether Commonwealth funds were used, prior to 1986, to support the provision of this publication in school libraries.

(6) Those educational institutions which are under my Department's administration comprise the five ACT Further Education institutions. Those institutions are responsible individually for the selection of appropriate resource materials. Such selections are not monitored or controlled by my Department. However, the honourable senator's question and my answer, including the Hansard reference above, have been drawn to the attention of the heads of those institutions.