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Thursday, 20 September 1973
Page: 1316


Mr SNEDDEN - My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Is it correct that the Prime Minister stated on 30 January 1973 that he was in favour of making public the membership of interdepartmental committees? Is it also correct that on the same day the Prime Minister assured members of the Press that he would not refuse to name the membership of interdepartmental committees or when they have reported? Does the failure to answer a question which I put on the notice paper asking for the numbers, composition and functions of each of the interdepartmen tal committees and their period of activity amount to a refusal to provide the information, for there is no other way in which the information can be Obtained? The answer he gave me was to the effect that a previous question by him was answered in the same way, but the statements he made were to draw a distinction between his attitude as it would be in government and that of the previous Government. Is this not a clear contradiction of his clear words?


Mr WHITLAM - The answer to the first 2 questions is yes. I did give the same answer as my predecessor to a question by the right honourable gentleman in these terms:

(1)   How many interdepartmental committees are currently in operation.

(2)   What is the composition and function of each and for what period of time has each of them been active.

My answer said that to compile the information would involve time and expense that I am reluctant to authorise, as were my immediate 2 predecessors. If the right honourable gentleman wishes to know the composition and function of any particular interdepartmental committee and for what period of time it has been active I shall be very happy to provide him with that information.







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