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Wednesday, 4 April 1973
Page: 1041

Mr SHERRY (FRANKLIN, TASMANIA) - Is the Postmaster-General aware of the transmission by the Post Office of unsolicited material which, at best, could only be described as offensive to the recipient? Is he also aware that there seems to be a very clear campaign to post this material to females, which has caused them a great deal of distress? Will the Postmaster-General take steps to consult his Cabinet colleagues as to whether an amendment to the Post and Telegraph Act is desirable to prevent the Post Office being used as a carrier of material that has given a great deal of offence to a large number of my constituents in the past few weeks?

Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is true that many people in Australia are receiving offensive material which they did not solicit. I understand that this matter has been the subject of many discussions with the PostmasterGeneral's Department. Further, I understand that in 1972 the States suggested to the Department that it should do something about amending the relevant legislation. On that occasion the Department declined to amend it. It is true to say, as the honourable member for Franklin said, that people should not be permitted to be offended simply because the mails are being misused and they are receiving material which they in no way sought. A lot of the material is sent from outside of Australia. There are some technical and legal difficulties as to how to prevent this practice continuing. It appears clear that there must be an amendment of the Act. I think that would involve a discussion with my colleague, the Attorney-General. I will undertake, as a matter of urgency, to have that discussion and ensure that some submission is made to Cabinet at an early date.

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