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Thursday, 25 February 1971

Senator BUTTFIELD (South Australia) - 1 wish to express my views briefly on the proposed amendment. I am in favour of the Bill, which seeks to allow a representative of the students' union to serve on the Australian National University Council. I think it is a good thing for alt sections of the community to meet in that type of forum. Those people who over the years may have gained great wisdom can profit from meeting the students' representatives to hear what they expect to receive from a university. However. I also believe that the students' representatives should have sufficient wisdom to be able to learn-

Senator Keeffe - I rise to a point of order. Senator Buttfield has in her possession a copy of the document on which the proposed amendment is based, lt is allegedly obscene. I seek your ruling, Sir, on whether she is allowed to bring it into the chamber in these circumstances. If she is so permitted, I request that it be tabled.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (SenatorSir Magnus Cormack) - Senator Buttfield is entitled io bring into the chamber any supporting documents she needs for her speech. 1 'do not think any demand can properly be made that she table those documents ' unless she quotes from them. '

Senator BUTTFIELD -! am amazed at the challenge, because j. have not mentioned any document.

Senator Keeffe - But . the proposed amendment-

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT- 1 have ruled against the tabling of the document. :

Senator BUTTFIELD - I have not mentioned any document. I am speaking about the rights and merits of the Bill.

Senator Keeffe - You are looking at the document.

Senator BUTTFIELD - There is no such copy on my desk. I do. noi know how-

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - I have ruled against ' the point of order raised by Senator Keeffe. Senator Buttfield will proceed with her speech.

Senator BUTTFIELD -! am speaking about the merits of the Bill which concerns the appointment of a .students' representative to the Australian National University Council. 1 favour that move, but I also support the amendment .moved by Senator McManus of the Australian Democratic Labor Party that we express an opinion that any representative of the students who serves on the Council' should show a sense of responsibility. I have had a brief glance at the publication which has caused a good deal of upset among honourable senators. 1, too, think it is most unfortunate that a publication of this type should be put into the hands of the community by students. I hope that civil action will be taken against those responsible. But that' is not the issue in this case. J feel that' in asking for a representative from the student body to bc pui on the Council we must expect that a responsible person will, bc so appointed. To my mind at present we are not faced with this situation. If we approve of a representative of the student's union-

Senator Keeffe - How: many people has the honourable senator' corrupted by showing them the publication?

Senator BUTTFIELD - I shall make my speech in my own way. I believe that the representative should be a responsible person. Unfortunately at the present time the Student's Union has appointed the editorial staff for whatever publication comes out of the University. Therefore that representative of the Union should take the responsibility for any publication. For this pornographic material to be published is in flagrant opposition to the law. What disturbs me more than anything else is the fact that taxpayers' money is being put into universities lo keep students there in order to produce better citizens for the community. If the taxpayers' money is to be put to this purpose 1 believe we must keep some control over what goes on in the universities. I am sick aud tired of hearing about academic freedom. The students are nol asking for academic freedom; they are asking for freedom for academics to break the law. 1 am opposed to this. 1 support the amendment which has been moved on behalf of the Australian Democratic Labor Party. We are expressing an opinion on those who may be appointed to the council. We are approving oi: the fact that they may be appointed and saying that they should show a sense of responsibility and not ask for undue freedoms for those in universities which would not be granted to other sections of the community. I do not think the taxpayers should be asked to assist university students under those conditions.

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