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Thursday, 6 December 1973
Page: 2545

The PRESIDENT - During question time I have given some thought to the matter raised by Senator Cavanagh. I have re-examined the letter which he sent to me. I assume that he sent it to me under standing order 427. 1 do not want to make a complete reply at this juncture, but I think that the honourable senator is entitled to some acknowledgment by me. It is quite clear that newspaper practice these days is that if a story is written by a member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery generally his name is at the top of the column of the report. I notice that on this occasion the name of the journalist is not given; the article is simply given a Canberra dateline. I am aware also, of course, that it is part of the modern technique to originate a story somewhere other than in Canberra and get someone to plant a Canberra dateline on the top of it. So it cannot be necessarily assumed that this report emanated from Canberra. I will send for the head of the 'Sun' bureau, who is a member of the parliamentary Press Gallery, some time during the day to discover what is the situation as far as he and his editor are concerned.

I think that honourable senators will agree that there is some laxity as regards the movement around the corridors of this Parliament House by people who sometimes claim that they are Press journalists but who sometimes are not. I am looking at this matter very carefully because Press accreditation cards are due for renewal on 1 January. Until 1 January of this current year these Press accreditation cards were issued by Mr Speaker. As from 1 January this year I insisted that they also bear the authority of the President of the Senate. In the coming year I may insist that a special accreditation card be issued to those who wish to attend in the Senate Press Gallery. I will leave the matter at that.

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