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Tuesday, 18 April 1972
Page: 1688

Dr CASS (MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA) I address a question to the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts. Is it a fact that in the setting up of a committee to study the role of crafts as art forms in Australia no person was included from the ranks of craftsmen in Australia or even anyone currently and primarily associated with contemporary craft activity in Australia? In reply to a question on this matter from the President of the Crafts Council of Australia did the Minister indicate that it would be improper to include on the committee someone associated with or practising craftsmanship as such persons stood to benefit from the inquiry? Finally, could the Minister review this decision bearing in mind that in the past committees inquiring into various subjects usually have included individuals intimately associated with the subject of the inquiry?

Mr HOWSON (CASEY, VICTORIA) (Minister for Environment, Aborigines and the Arts) - I have already answered a question on this matter from the honourable member for Sturt. The members of the committee have a wide knowledge of the arts in all its forms. The chairman is a member of the Council for the Arts. Another member is a member of the Art Advisory Board and another member has particular knowledge of Aboriginal arts and crafts. I have informed the Crafts Council of Australia already that I would expect its members to make representations to the committee and that they will have a full and open opportunity to put all their views to the committee. Therefore, they will have a wonderful opportunity to make representations on behalf of all their members throughout Australia. I believe that this is the best way in which to have a full hearing of the needs of these important people in the community. The first meeting of this committee will take place on 26th April. I believe that once the bearings are under way the members of the Crafts Council can be very well pleased with the hearing that they will receive.

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