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Thursday, 27 October 1949


Mr DEDMAN (Corio) (Minister for Defence and Minister for Post-war Reconstruction) . - I move -

That the amendment be agreed to.

One of the provisions of the hill is that from the 1st January, 1950, the National Security (Prices) Regulations shall be discontinued. One effect of this action will be that persons formerly employed by the Prices Branch, all of whom made a declaration of secrecy under the National Security (Prices) Regulations may be free after that date to disclose information obtained in the course of their duties. When prices control was taken over by the States the secrecy provisions of the National Security (Prices) Regulations were amended to give to the State prices control authorities access to files in the custody of the Commonwealth. This was necessary to prevent duplication and to permit of an easy transition. The State officers who examine such files are sworn to secrecy in the same way as were Commonwealth officers under Commonwealth prices control. There is no guarantee, however, that existing State legislation will be continued indefinitely, hence the need for a standing Commonwealth provision to guarantee that secrecy will be observed by officers who have had access to confidential documents held by the Commonwealth Prices Branch or loaned to State prices organizations. The provisions embodied in the amendment have been designed to cover persons, including new employees, who have or have had, or who will have, access to the records in question, and at the same time be sufficiently wide in scope to embrace the Commonwealth archival authorities who, it is anticipated, may become custodians of a selected portion of the records.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Resolution reported'; report adopted.







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