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Wednesday, 7 April 1965

Senator GORTON - I saw the leading article referred to and, indeed, some other comments along the same lines in another place. I can say quite unequivocally that the C.S.I.R.O. does not suppress, and to the best of my knowledge has never suppressed, the results of any scientific research except on the ground of the executive's judgment of the standard of the research reached or as to whether the area covered falls within the responsibility of the Organisation. Even then, it does not suppress the findings; it merely does not publish them. I can say unequivocally that no pressure has been put on the members of the executive of the C.S.I.R.O. to suppress or publish the results of any research or documentation, and from my knowledge gained through working with the members of the executive I have a pretty good idea that they would not take any notice if the Government attempted to bring such pressure to bear.

In the case mentioned by the honorable senator - that of Dr. Davidson who dealt with some aspects of the Ord River scheme - the doctor's findings were not suppressed; they were not published by the C.S.I.R.O. because, in the judgment of the executive of the Organisation, they fell not within the responsibilities of the C.S.I.R.O. but more within the responsibilities of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. I repeat that the findings were not suppressed; they were made available to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and to the Government of Western Australia.

To put the matter in a nutshell, the C.S.I.R.O. regards its responsibilities as find* ing out what will grow in particular land con*ditions and in particular climatic conditions, and how it can best be grown - what kind of treatment should be given to it; what kind of pesticide action should be taken and what kind of fertiliser should be added to the ground. It has regard to overall broad economics but not to the forecasting of future markets and things of that kind. It does not seek to influence policy but when those responsible decide that some area should be opened up, it does seek to provide properly based scientific research information on what can be grown there and how it can best be grown. That is the area to which it confines its scientific and industrial research publications.

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