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Thursday, 11 June 1970

Mr Deputy Speaker,I mentioned earlier that every democratic society is confronted from time to time by conflicts of interests; it is my duty to bring to the notice of this House that a conflict of interest exists in Australia today on the question of censorship. This conflict may never be completely resolved but the Government believes that we must at least try to maintain open and thoughtful debate and to involve all parties concerned - the public, the Parliament, and the Government. This is why 1 have made this full statement.

I believe that censorship though undesirable, is necessary: censorship should be open to public scrutiny; the amount of censorship should be as little as possible, within the limits set by community standards; and in the ultimate, all members of the community, especially parents, I repeat, have the prime responsibility in censorship; the community simply cannot sit back and expect the Government to protect it.

To keep Australian censorship laws in step with the sociological development of the nation and to administer them in a sensible and modern fashion presents daunting problems. Neither the Minister nor the boards and officials involved in this onerous task can be confident of achieving these objectives unless information and opinions are- obtained from the community at large. We must all recognise, however, that in the end, because of the subjective nature of this matter, the solution will be a compromise drawn from the mass of varying and conflicting opinion held by the individual members of. the community, lt is, in the end, their responsibility.

Mr Deputy Speaker,I present the following paper:

Censorship - Ministerial Statement, 11 June 1970.

Morion (by Mr Killen) proposed:

That the House take note of the paper.

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