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Thursday, 21 May 1970

Dr Everingham asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:

Will he consider approaches to the major English-speaking countries to ask for their support in principle for a treaty to set up an international commission to advise on approved changes in English spelling conventions and usage and which will take into account (a) the evolving nature of language, (b) the relative fixity of spelling, (c) the emergence of dialects in India attributable in part to confusion due to outdated spellings, (d) the discovery that illogical spelling is the major cause of dyslexia and costs English-speaking scholars one to two years schooling time as compared wilh scholars speaking most alphabetised languages and (e) the publication in 1969 of the first comprehensive but gradual phonetic reform possible by Lindgren.

Mr McMahon - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

This is a matter which will require extensive consultations both in Australia and abroad. When these have been completed I will be in a position to give a complete reply to the question.

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