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Thursday, 27 September 1973
Page: 1714

Mr Snedden asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

Will he provide a list of the interdepartmental committees which have been established since 2 December 1972 on which officers of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Foreign Affairs are members.

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

The right honourable member will understand that in the normal course my two Departments, and indeed all Departments, are involved daily in consultation with other Departments in matters that affect them collectively. It would be quite impracticable even to attempt to list these consultations in total. Some of them are by way of interdepartmental meeting, but others, and by far the majority, are by way of telephone, circulated papers or bi-lateral discussions.

Again, as the right honourable member will understand, there is a confidentiality which attaches to many of the consultations, e.g. for international reasons, reasons of commercial speculation.

The consultations which take place by meeting arise in some instances from specific decisions at Government level, and in other cases from departmental initiative.

I interpret the question to relate to those interdepartmental committees which arise from specific decision at Government level. I repeat, that to compile the information, even as to these, with full certainty would involve time and expense that I am reluctant to authorise, as were my predecessors. However, to be as forthcoming as I can, and subject to the necessary exclusions, I list below committees which I am informed have been established by the Government with representation from one or other, or both, of my Departments:

Arrangements for provision of advice on ionising radiation

Assistance to Industries

Australian Government Office Space

Australian Investment Overseas

Australian Participation in NASA Post-Apollo Program

Australian Trade with Developing Countries

Brussels Definition of Value for Duty and GATT Anti-Dumping Code

Consideration of First Report of the Aboriginal Land Rights Commission

Environmental Impact Studies

Freedom of Information Legislation

GATT Trade Negotiations

Human Rights

Metric Conversion Co-ordination

Motor Vehicle Industry

National Archives Legislation

National Housing Policy

Revaluation Adjustment Assistance for Rural Industries

Shipbuilding Industry

Social Indicators- (Social Welfare)

Soil Conservation

Structural Adjustment- (Tariff)

The Production of Educational Publications

Unified Aid Administration

Urban and Regional Development

Urban Transport

Purari River Project

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