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Statement by the Senator V. C. Gair ( Leader D.L.P.)



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PRESS RELEASE

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THE SENATE

Senator The Hon. V. C. GAR

Leader Democratic Labor Party Phones: Canberra, 70$ Ext. 523 Brisbane, 310101 Ext. 436

18th February, 1969

The D.L.P., at its pre--sessions= meeting in Canberra on b:ionday (next) will decide

its attitude to the Committee of Pederal and State Departmental Officers which is

now being set up by the Minister for Customs, Senator Scott, to deal with the

growing narcotics traffic in Australia.

It seems that the action of the D.L.P. in indicating its intention to move for the

establishment of a Parliamentary Committee on this subject has stimulated the

Governuent to at least this action.

But we are by no means certain that this is the answer to the problem. That is

suggested is a Standing Committee of Comonwealth and State public servants. Such

a Comriitt^e may have some value once the nature and extent of the problem is known.

And it was to determine precisely this that the D.L.P. proposed the establishment

of a Parliamentary Committee.

The suggested Committee of public servants has already been the subject of press

criticism on the assumption that its meetings will be in private - an assumption

which I presume would be correct.

This is vastly different from the D.L.P. proposal for a Committee which would call

for and accept evidence from all sources so that the best type of machinery for

handling the growing narcotics traffic could be set up.

I am sure that many sections of the comunity will be gravely disappointed that

the information at their disposal may not be canvassed as thoroughly or as easily

as would be the case with a Parliamentary Committee.

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I am seeking precise information from the Minister for Customs, as to the nature of the activities of the Committee and will announce after our meeting on Lionday

whether or not we propose to press forward with our original proposal for a

Parliamentary Committee.

At this stage I am inclined to think we will.

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