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Thursday, 9 December 1976
Page: 3574

Mr FALCONER (CASEY, VICTORIA) -My question is directed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister in Women's Affairs. With the recent international success of films such as Caddie which received financial assistance during the International Women's Year, can the Minister inform the House whether anything further is being done to ensure a continuing contribution by women to the Australian film industry?

Mr MACPHEE (BALACLAVA, VICTORIA) (Minister for Productivity) -The policy of the Government is to ensure that there is equality of opportunity and equal status for all people in our society and in order to help to achieve that goal the Government has-

Mr Morris - Incorporate it.

Mr MACPHEE -. . . established a women's film fund which will provide financial support in the form of investment for films by, for and about women. Film projects such as Caddie were funded by the National Advisory Committee for International Women's Year and returns on investment -

Mr Innes - Put it in Hansard.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I ask the Minister to resume his seat. The honourable member for Melbourne and the honourable member for Shortland are having a competition with each other in interjecting. I call on them to remain silent or I will have to take action.

Mr Morris - I take a point of order. I seek your guidance, Mr Speaker, on an interpretation of standing order 321 which relates to Ministers quoting and reading from documents. I am sure that you recall the difficulty that the Opposition has had in ascertaining whether Minister are reading answers. I require that the Minister table the document from which he is reading.

Mr SPEAKER -There is no substance to the point of order. I call the Minister for Productivity.

Mr MACPHEE -Mr Speaker,I am -

Mr Morris - I take a point of order. I again raise standing order 321. 1 require under standing order 32 1 that the Minister table the document from which he is reading.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I will call upon the Minister after he has finished his answer. I call the Minister for Productivity.

Mr MACPHEE -I am reading from handwritten notes because I wish to read some names to the House. I am quite happy for the piece of paper to be used as the House may wish. I had reached the point of mentioning that films such as Caddie had been funded by the National Advisory Committee for International Women's Year and returns on investment made during that International Women's Year will initially be the basis of the fund. The fund itself will be administered by the Australian Film Commission. Applications should be addressed to the Australian Film Commission and they will be assessed initially by Ms Gillian Appleton and Ms Caroline Jones. If those 2 assessors believe that the application has merit, it will be referred to an advisory panel of 4 nominated women which will recommend to the Australian Film Commission whether funds should be used for such a project. The advisory panel will consist of Ms Jill Robb of the Australian Film Commission, Ms Jeanette Hungerford, a member of the former National Advisory Committee for International Women's Year, Ms Jenni Kendall of the Australian Broadcasting Commission and a member of the Women's Affairs Branch of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. All decisions to allocate money will be in accordance with the requirements of the Australian Film Commission Act.

Mr SPEAKER - Will the Minster table the document?

Mr MACPHEE -I am happy to table the document.

Mr Yates - Mr Speaker,I take a point of order. You will have observed the statements in reply to questions today which have deprived honourable members who wish to put questions of the opportunity of putting them. You also drew to the attention of the House the length of ministerial replies which could easily have been dealt with as ministerial statements. You observed the Deputy Leader of the Opposition today again drawing your attention to this problem. I make no reflections on the customs of this House, the Chair or the Government as to how it conducts question time, but you are Chairman of the Standing Orders Committee and I have no doubt that this matter has been brought to your attention. Will you tell the House what decisions have been made by the Standing Orders Committee concerning the Standing Orders in relation to question time and ministerial statements.

Mr SPEAKER -The Standing Orders Committee has made no determination about the way Ministers answer questions. The matter has been discussed at previous meetings of the Standing Orders Committee. It can be discussed again if the honourable member wishes to raise it with me for discussion by the Committee.

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