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Monday, 13 September 1971
Page: 1156


Mr DRURY (RYAN, QUEENSLAND) - I ask the PostmasterGeneral whether he is aware of a statement attributed to a Queensland Cabinet Minister concerning the flow of pornography through Post Office channels. If so, would the Postmaster-General care to comment and indicate what action is being taken by his Department particularly with regard to the use of Post Office boxes?


Sir ALAN HULME (PETRIE, QUEENSLAND) (Postmaster-General) - I am aware that Dr Delamothe, the Minister for Justice in Queensland, has made some comment in relation to the use of the mails for the transfer of pornographic literature. Dr Delamothe indicated that the matter had been discussed at a meeting of Commonwealth and State Ministers - I presume, the Attorneys-General and Ministers for Justice - and that he would bring the matter up again at their next meeting. My file does not reveal any occasion on which Dr Delamothe has brought an individual matter to my notice nor indeed when he has brought to my notice the general situation. I am therefore a little surprised that he should be making public statements rather than a personal representation to me. Naturally, the matter will be looked at very carefully by me if representations are made by Dr Delamothe or by any of the Attorneys-General - Commonwealth or State - a number of whom have brought individual cases to my attention.

Within the last 3 years in Queensland and New South Wales 14 Post Office box tenancies have been cancelled because the Post Office discovered that those boxes were being used for the dissemination of this type of literature. This area is a very difficult one for the Post Office to operate in. The Government has laid down broadly that action should be initiated by the Post Office if there is blatant evidence on the envelopes or covers of the postal articles that they contain pornographic material. Most of this literature is pasted in plain envelopes. The Post Office has no authority to open envelopes. Therefore its situation is not easy. If it is a matter of registration of books - in some cases this type of material is in book form - it is usual for the Post Office, if it has any doubts, to consult the Minister for Customs and Excise because, as I think most people will realise, the Post Office is not to be seen as another censorship authority within Australia.







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