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Friday, 26 May 1972
Page: 2169


Senator LITTLE (VICTORIA) - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise. In view of the Minister's answer to a previous question which revealed that book bounty payment had been made to the printers of 'Intercourse', 'Ways of Loving', 'Call Girl' and The Little Red Schoolbook' and which gave unsolicited information that a similar bounty was refused to the printers of Lesbian Capers', 'Jay Birds in Love', 'Weekend Love' and 'Girls in Love'-


The PRESIDENT - Order! There have been so many interjections that I have not been able to hear the honourable senator's question. Senator Little, will you repeat it?


Senator LITTLE - I am reluctant to begin again, Mr President, until I am sure that you will be able to hear what I have to say above the ill-mannered interjections. I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise. In view of the Minister's answer to a previous question revealing that book bounty payments had been made to the printers of Intercourse', 'Ways of Loving'. 'Call Girl' and 'The Little Red Schoolbook', and also unsolicited information that a similar bounty was refused to the printers of 'Lesbian Capers', 'Jay Birds in Love', 'Weekend Love' and 'Girls in Love' and as. in the same answer, the Minister stated:

Payment of bounty is in no way related to the merit of the book. Bounty has been paid on the production of every type of book, including cheap, badly-written detective stories and trashy romances -


The PRESIDENT - Order! The honourable senator now is giving information.


Senator LITTLE - Mr President, if I may claim your indulgence in this matter, unless I quote this section of the Minister's answer, my question will nol be clearly understood.


Senator Keeffe - I rise to order. Is it in order for an honourable senator to obtain free advertising for his bookshop in this chamber?


The PRESIDENT - Order! There is no substance in the point of order.


Senator LITTLE - May I proceed with the quote from the question, Mr President? There is very little more to go.


The PRESIDENT - You may .proceed.


Senator LITTLE - The Minister's answer continued: . . merit, literary or otherwise, is simply not relevant. The Book Bounty Act is not an instrument of censorship and moral attitudes are not taken into account in the consideration for bounty purposes of a book which satisfies all the criteria for bounty payment.

My question is: Will the Minister now disclose why the bounties were refused on the books he has listed?


Senator COTTON (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Civil Aviation) - Perhaps it would not do any harm if we got the lines of responsibility in these issues clear in our minds. I think honourable senators will appreciate that currently 4 Ministers in the Senate are representing the whole range of Government business. I represent 8 or 9 portfolios, one of which is held by the Minister for Customs and Excise. It is my practice very carefully to ask for direct answers from the responsible Minister to questions which have been directed to me. 1 do not seek to volunteer information, nor do 1 seek to interpret what might be answers to questions without referring them to the appropriate Minister. This is a clear case in which the Minister would want to study the honourable senators question and answer him directly through me, if, indeed, there is to be any construction of irrelevancy in this matter to which Senator Little has referred.


Senator Little - 1 will place the question on notice.


Senator COTTON - I thank the honourable senator.







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