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Attorney-General urged to rule on the legal position of respondents to the 1988 Household Expenditure Survey

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RELEASEOft JO HN R. HEWSON. M.P. MEMBER FOR WENTWORTH ifCOMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARYC. I . s.JOINT STATEMENT BY THE SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL MR PETER REITH, M.P. AND THE ACTING SHADOW TREASURERDR JOHN HEWSON, M.P.ATTORNEY-GENERAL URGED TO RULE ON THE LEGAL POSITION OF RESPONDENTS TO THE 1988 HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE SURVEYThe Shadow Attorney-General, Mr Peter Reith, and the Acting Shadow Treasurer, Dr John Hewson, today strongly urged the Attorney-General to publish a detailed legal opinion on the legal position of respondents to the 1988 Household Expenditure Survey."There is now unacceptable and widespread confusion" they said "as to whether or not it is compulsory for respondents to complete the survey".Mr Reith and Dr Hewson said, "the Attorney-General has a clear- cut obligation to clarify the issue for the thousands of Australians who need to know their precise legal position before filling in the forms".Uncertainty has arisen as to the legal position due to the Treasurer's failure to place the proposed survey before both Houses of Parliament as required by the- Act.Mr Reith and Dr Hewson said that "it was particularly surprising that the Treasurer had failed to table the 1988 survey in that it had been foreshadowed last December that the survey would be tabled."They also said that "it should be recognised that on previous occasions the Australian Statistician had felt impelled to table surveys even where there were only minor alterations."Dr Hewson also said that it was imperative that the Treasurer become involved in this issue on his return from Tokyo this weekend and urged him, in turn, to urge the Attorney-General to give his legal opinion as soon as possible.For Further Information! (02) 329838/39