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Tuesday, 12 September 1972
Page: 1128

Mr ERWIN (BALLAARAT, VICTORIA) - Has the attention of the Minister for the Interior been drawn to the despicable action of members of the socalled Abortion Reform Society who paraded with banners outside St Christopher's Roman Catholic Cathedral at all services on Sunday last, annoying worshippers who are opposed to abortion on demand or request? As the great majority of Australians believe in freedom of worship, will the Minister take action against these arrogant people who are prepared to parade and annoy people outside any place of worship?

Mr HUNT (GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Interior) - This matter has been drawn to my attention and I sympathise with the parishioners who might have been upset by the demonstration which took place outside the Cathedral. However, it would appear that there was no breach of the law. I have asked the Commissioner of Police to investigate the matter. I checked with my Department this morning and, as far as I am aware, no official complaint about the demonstration has been lodged with my Department or with the police. I can only regard the action by the people concerned as being in very poor taste and interfering with the rights of individuals to conduct their worship - in this case, Mass at the Cathedral throughout Sunday - and I hope that people who desire to protest in some way or another will respect the rights of people to worship in this country as they so wish, without this sort of impediment.

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