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Decision of Commonwealth censor is correct

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The decision by the Chief Censor, Mr. John Dickie, to invite representatives of religious groups to a private screening of

"The Last Temptation of Christ" before the Film Censorship Board makes a decision on the film, is commendable.

"In matters of such sensitivity to many members in our

community, it is sensible that religious leaders are fully aware of what the film contains so as to avoid hasty action based on inadequate information. Hopefully by taking this action Mr. Dickie will avoid any unnecessary conflict. By

encouraging consultation Mr. Dickie is properly taking into account the special interest that Christians have in this issue.

In February 1987, the Full Court of the Federal Court held that a Roman Catholic priest and an Anglican priest both had standing to make an application for review of the decisions to allow public exhibition of the film "Je Vous Salue Marie"

("Hail Mary"> under section 39 of the Customs (Cinematograph Films) Regulations as parties "aggrieved by a decision of the Censorship Board". The Court held that, as ministers of religion, the priests were in a special position as "it is

their duty and vocation to maintain the sanctity of the scriptures, to spread the gospel, to teach and foster Christian beliefs and to repel and oppose blasphemy".

Mr. Dickie's initiative is therefore appropriate and indicates that he is sensitive to public opinion. This is a step in the right direction for the Film Censorship Board.

Contact* Peter Reith, Shadow Attorney-General Telephone* (059) 79 3188 September 7, 1988. 119/88