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Tuesday, 11 April 1972
Page: 930

Senator McLAREN asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

Was the Assistant Minister assisting the Minister for Health correctly reported in 'The Courier' of 2nd March 1972 as suggesting that the reporting of court cases concerning drugs and drug thefts should be restricted? If so, was he stating Government policy in his capacity as Assistant Minister assisting the Minister for Health?

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

At the Seminar on 'Drugs and the Mass Media' conducted by the Department of Health, Senator Marriott referred to the fact that the Senate Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse had suggested consideration of the provisions of the New Zealand Narcotics Act of 1970. Under this Act, New Zealand courts may restrain publi cation of information referring to misuse and abuse of new drugs or to new or bizarre misuse of new or of old drugs.

Senator Marriott'swords were: The actual recommendation by the Senate Select Committee concerning reporting was ". . . discussions at the highest possible level should be conducted with the Australian Newspapers Council to evolve a policy designed to establish a more responsible approach to the reporting on the use of drugs and particularly of any bizarre effects. In this consideration regard should also be paid to the comments made on this aspect in Chapter 9 - practices now adopted by the courts in New Zealand' - where they, are pretty tough on the news media. It was based on a lot of evidence and the reason for its inclusion as a recommendation is referred to in the chapter of the Report entitled The Causes of Drug Abuse'.".'.

Senator Marriottopened the Seminar in his capacity as Assistant Minister and because of his role as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee.

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