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Thursday, 30 September 1971
Page: 1721

Mr STEWART (LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the Minister for Trade and Industry: Does the action of the Tariff Board in enlisting academics from Monash University to work on Tariff Board inquiries amount to a deplorable abandonment of the long-standing tradition that confidential evidence given to the Board is not divulged to other persons, even to the Minister and the Government? Will he provide the names of the persons outside of the Tariff Board and its permanent staff who have had access to industry's confidential information? Is the revelation of this practice likely to shatter the trust which Australian industry, until now, has placed in the integrity of the Tariff Board? Will he issue urgent instructions that the practice must cease? What additional action can he take to restore that trust and to ensure that Australian industry will continue to give to the Tariff Board complete details of confidential financial, planning and operational information, as it has done in the past?

Mr ANTHONY (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Deputy Prime Minister) - Yesterday I tabled the annual report of the Tariff Board. It contained a dissenting opinion on the practices and procedures concerning some of the activities of the Tariff Board. Those matters would relate very much to the question that has been asked of me. This matter has been referred to the AttorneyGeneral's Department for legal opinion, and until I have that legal opinion I would reserve any comment.

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