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Wednesday, 28 April 1965


Senator ANDERSON - I must decline the honorable senator's invitation to embark upon a dissertation of the specific merits of "The Trial of Lady Chatterley". I do not want to add anything to what I said in a Press release on 22nd April in relation to the publication in Australia of a prohibited book.


Senator Murphy - Is it, or is it not, illegal to import the book?


Senator ANDERSON - The honorable senator, being a member of the legal profession, likes to ask: "Do you or do you not say this?" We are members of Parliament. This is a place of debate, not a court of law, and I decline the invitation to be cross examined by anyone, least of all by Senator Murphy. After that statement I merely want to repeat, in relation to " The Trial of Lady Chatterley ", that no matter how effective my department's screen is it can never be expected to detect single copies of prohibited books imported piecemeal in the form of first class mail addressed to several or many different persons in the community. Further, I want to mention again my decision to await the outcome of any legal action which may be taken in those States where the book has been distributed or sold, as the honorable senator indicated.

There were certain consultative arrangements entered into between the Commonwealth and the States in 1961. I, as the Commonwealth Minister responsible for these matters today - I cited the clear pattern of my responsibilities in answer to a previous question - need to weigh my own views against the views or actions of the individual States. My officers, of course, are in touch with their State counterparts on this matter and at this point of time I propose to decline the invitation to enter into an off the cuff discussion with Senator Murphy of the details of the book. I rely entirely on the Press statement that I have already made.







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