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Thursday, 22 May 1980
Page: 3225

Dr Cass asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 15 April 1980:

(   1 ) Are press releases regularly produced and circulated to (a) the Parliamentary Press Gallery, (b) Members of Parliament and (c) various community organisations by (i) his office and (ii) his Department.

(2)   Are the same press releases also posted to the members of the ethnic press; if so, what is the purpose of the publication For the Ethnic Media.

(3)   What does this publication cost to (a) produce and (b) circulate.

(4)   Who (a) produces and (b) circulates this publication.

(5)   On what basis and on whose advice are articles and news items selected for this publication.

(6)   Will the columns of this publication be made available for Members of the Opposition in the Commonwealth Parliament.

(7)   Is it considered that ordinary press releases would not be understood by members of the ethnic media.

Mr Macphee - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   (a)(i)and(ii)Yes.

(b)   (i) Members of Parliament receive Ministerial press releases in the daily collations prepared by the Ministerial Document Service.

(b)   (ii) A monthly collation of Miniterial and departmental news releases is forwarded on request to Members' electorate offices.

(c)   (i) and (ii) Monthly collations in (b) (ii) are distributed to various community organisations.

(   2 ) Yes. The purpose of the publication is to provide to the ethnic media- particularly to ethnic newspapers, which have limited staff resources- a summary of Commonwealth Government announcements and information of interest to Australia's ethnic communities.

Although only three pages. For the Ethnic Media covers a variety of Commonwealth Government activities. In April 1980, for example, it included announcements by the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Resources, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Social Security, the Attorney-General, the Minister for Transport, the Minister for Health and the Department of the Capital Territory as well as by the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs.

(3   ) The cost of For the Ethnic Media was given in Answer to Question 566 1 (see House of Representatives Hansard, 1 3 May 1980, page 2678).

(4)   (a) and (b) The Information Unit of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs.

(5)   The items are selected on an assessment of their interest to ethnic communities by journalists of the Information Unit of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs.

(6)   It is not intended to include statements by Members of the Opposition in the Commonwealth Parliament. The fundamental purpose of providing objective reports of facts, policies and changes in policies would be lost if For the Ethnic Media were reduced to a forum for the exchange of political views.

(7)   No.

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