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Thursday, 27 September 1973
Page: 1688


The CHAIRMAN - Order! The honourable member for Griffith will withdraw that remark.


Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - Well, he is not a hypocrite. It is just a strange way that he -


The CHAIRMAN - Order! The honourable member will withdraw that remark.


Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - Well, he is not a hypocrite.


The CHAIRMAN - The honourable member will withdraw the remark.


Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - He is not a hypocrite. I withdraw it.


Mr GRASSBY - This matter is one in which I have been interested ever since the PostmasterGeneral (Mr Lionel Bowen) indicated that some considerable changes would be made in concessions, which incidentally have been extended to a very wide range of bodies outside and inside our country such as multinational corporations and others. He was most anxious to ensure that there was in fact a just acceptance of the burdens which should be accepted by many organisations well able to bear them, particularly outside our country. As to the countryside I must say that within a very short time arrangements have been made to end concessions which have in fact been enjoyed by many organisations outside our country. It seems in my initial checking that no great difficulty would be experienced by our own people, our own journals and our own countryside. Indeed, I took the precaution of checking with a number of strategic journals to make sure that there was no particular difficulty. Their reply, of course, was nearly unanimous. In effect they said: 'Oh no, as far as we are concerned at present there are no difficulties at all'. It may be that their judgment was not quite right in that particular case. But they checked with me and I noted their replies and their particular representations to me.

I was anxious to ensure that there would be no difficulties as far as the free flow of information was concerned in the journals in my own electorate. It appeared, of course, after examination and consultation by myself and the Postmaster-General, that that was not the position in regard to one or two of the journals. I took a very charitable view of this matter. In some instances valiant journals - wonderful journals - produced by family groups - had been serving the people over a long period. I can think of their names now. If I am challenged to name them I will do so. They have been particularly fair whether printing material for the Country Party, which is one of the parties in our country which receives 8 per cent of the votes and therefore should be acknowledged, or the Democratic Labor Party which is also a party in our country which receives almost 8 per cent of the vote -


The CHAIRMAN (Mr Scholes - Order! I suggest to the Minister that he bring his remarks back to the amendment.


Mr GRASSBY - Yes, Mr Chairman. I wish to draw attention to the fact that this matter is relevant to journals which believe in fair play. I am referring to the journals which have recognised the views of people whether from the Country Party, which received 8 per cent of the votes or from the Democratic Labor Party, which received about 8 per cent of the votes but which has no representation in this House. Of course, honourable members will have noticed that. Whether the matter printed refers to the Liberal Party or the Labor Party does not matter at all in terms of the free flow of information. There are journals which)--


Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - I raise a point of order. In view of the fact that the Minister was so silent when the Bill originally came to this House)--


The CHAIRMAN (Mr Scholes - Order! The honourable member for Griffith is not taking a point of order. He is making a speech and he will resume his seat.


Mr GRASSBY - The honourable member for Riverina has never been silent in matters concerning his electorate and I might say that the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron) will do well to learn by precept--


Mr McVeigh - I raise a point of order. The honourable member for Riverina has been quietened on many occasions in this House. What have his remarks to do with the particular clause that we are now debating? I submit, Mr Chairman, for your consideration the geriatrics of the Minister.


The CHAIRMAN - Order! The honourable member has made his point of order.


Mr McVeigh - I am not quite finished.


The CHAIRMAN - Order! The honourable gentleman has made his point of order. I ask him now to resume his seat and I will rule on his point of order.


Mr McVeigh - Well, I rise on another point of order.


The CHAIRMAN - Order! One point of order at a time, thank you.


Mr McVeigh - Mr Chairman--


The CHAIRMAN - Order! The honourable member for Darling Downs will resume his seat.


Mr McVeigh - I thought I had resumed it. I was making another point of order.


The CHAIRMAN - I have not ruled on the first point of order.


Mr McVeigh - I am making a second point of order.


The CHAIRMAN - Order! If the honourable member wishes to make a second point of order he will resume his seat or he will not be here to do so. I will now rule on the point of order. The Minister should come back to the Bill. He is skating very thinly. I think he is most likely as close to being relevant as speeches in most debates in this House are. He is skating thinly. I asked previous speakers to be relevant and I ask the Minister to be relevant.


Mr McVeigh - Mr Chairman, for the elucidation of the Committee, I ask you to rule whether the antics of the Minister in his speech would seem to indicate that--


The CHAIRMAN - Order! The honourable gentleman will resume his seat. He is as aware as I am that what the Minister says has nothing to do with the Chair provided that it is within the compass of the Standing Orders. Whether it is correct or otherwise is not of any interest to the Chair.


Mr GRASSBY - I wind up my remarks in this way: I commend the Postmaster-General for his masterly exercise in tolerance and also, I might say, in discernment. As I have said there are newspapers in my electorate which incidentally have prepared an obituary for myself - it is a very brief obituary and they are hoping very desperately that they will print it most rapidly--


Mr Anthony - Hear, hear!


Mr GRASSBY - Nevertheless, that is the only thing that they will ever print--


Mr Anthony - The most enthusiastic article they have ever written.


Mr GRASSBY - The Leader of the Country Party says 'Hear, hear!' Well, you are entitled to your opinion, Mr Anthony. I do not mind. I hope I live for a year or two. I say: God bless you. I have no argument with you at all as an individual. I hope you live long and that you continue with your wife and family--


Mr King - I take a point of order. My point of order is this: I would like to know what the latter statement by the Minister has to do with the Bill before the Committee.


The CHAIRMAN - Order! I suggest to the honourable member that if that is all his point of order amounts to he should ask the Minister after this debate. If the honourable member does not understand what the Minister says, that has nothing to do with the Chair at all.


Mr King - With all respect, this has nothing to do with the Bill whatsoever.


The CHAIRMAN - Order! Your point of order was made. You asked me what the Minister's statement meant. The Chair is not in a position to tell you. I call the Minister.


Mr Daly - That is a point of view.


Mr GRASSBY - Of course, as the Leader of the House says, that is a point of view. May I say, incidentally, that I think that the honourable member for Wimmera is as red as his tie. But, never mind, we wish him well. I commend the Postmaster-General for his statesmanship on this matter. When the ramifications of this action were brought to his attention and when it was illustrated to him that this action could affect the free flow of information, irrespective of whether that information concerned death, health or any other matter, he said: 'Let them all flourish.' It was a tremendous gesture on the part of the Postmaster-General. He accepted it. I want to commend him for that acceptance.

I say to him that when this matter was first raised with me it was raised on behalf of great men in the countryside. I refer to men like the Bradley brothers of Temora, men who are above politics and the petty partisanship that is often displayed by the honourable member for New England (Mr Sinclair) and the right honourable member for Richmond (Mr Anthony) who sit opposite me. These great men raised the matter on the basis of the free flow of information. I might say through you, Mr Chairman, to the Postmaster-General that it is a magnificent--


Mr Sinclair - What about the Barham paper? Are you still in favour of it, Al?


Mr GRASSBY - As a matter of fact, Mr Chairman, there is a wonderful interjection by the honourable member for New England. He asks: 'What about the Barham paper?' The full title of that paper is the 'Koondrook and Barham Bridge'. It is one of the most objective journals in the whole of our country. It is a fine journal and--


The CHAIRMAN - Order! The Minister's time has expired.

Amendment agreed to.

Resolution reported; report adopted.







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