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Wednesday, 21 May 1980
Page: 2961

Mr Charles Jones (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) -I preface my question, which is directed to the Minister for Post and Telecommunications, by saying that it is a very simple question and that any self-respecting Minister in command of his portfolio should not require public servants to prepare his answers for him.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable gentleman will ask his question or I will rule him out of order.

Mr Charles Jones (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) -I ask: Was the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal initially ambivalent about taking an active role in the High Court case brought against it by the Australian Labor Party? Were discussions subsequently held between the Attorney-General, the Minister for Post and Telecommunications and the Tribunal, as a result of which the Tribunal opted to involve itself in the case?

Mr STALEY - As I indicated yesterday in answer to a fairly similar question, the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal made its own decision in this matter. It was not a decision based on advice from the Attorney-General's officials. Indeed, I believe that the Attorney-General and his officials would have regarded it as the AttorneyGeneral said in the Senate yesterday, as an odd decision of the Tribunal. But it was the Tribunal 's decision to do that. I believe the Tribunal knew the position of the Attorney-General's advisers but chose, in its own way and for reasons of its own, to be represented.

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