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Friday, 16 October 1970

Mr CHIPP - Imports which are in the form of 'literature' - I use that word in inverted commas - and which are regarded as obscene can be divided into 2 parts. The first part consists of literature which is obviously hard core pornography, or rubbish as you might call it, and the other part consists of those works which do contain literary merit. Books of literary merit are referred by my Department to the National Literature Board of Review which is a body consisting of 9 people who are distinguished in letters - there is a poet, a publisher and people of that calibre - and who work in a part time capacity. Their recommendations are made to me and on the basis of those recommendations, I decide whether a work should be classified as a prohibited import or not. I understand the honourable gentleman is referring particularly to the first category I mentioned. These are banned at departmental level but only by an extremely senior officer. There are some who believe that customs officers all around the country can grab an importation and ban it. This is not so. There is no officer at State level who has the duty to do that. Everything is referred to the central office in Canberra and then to a senior officer who only after looking at it carefully makes the overt decision to declare it a prohibited import.

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