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Wednesday, 23 May 1973
Page: 2478


Mr LYNCH (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) - My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Will the honourable gentleman tell the House whether he has ordered a revision of the Government's proposed Freedom of Information Act which was so widely referred to by him during the election campaign but which is now apparently a matter of some secrecy itself? Has the honourable gentleman ordered this revision because certain of the proposed Act's provisions would compel his Government to release a number of documents which were suppressed by his AttorneyGeneral during the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation affair? Will the honourable gentleman indicate to the House when his Government intends to give legislative effect to his pre-election promise of open government?


Mr WHITLAM - I regret that it has not been possible this session to draft legislation parallel to the United States Freedom of Information Act which the Government is committed to introducing. I have not seen any draft of it. The matter has not been considered by the Cabinet. As honourable gentlemen will probably have noticed, over 90 Bills will have been introduced during this session.

That is as many as we usually get in a year, and it has been impossible to draft and therefore to introduce a Bill such as this or some other quite significant ones such as the Trade Practices Bill. Honourable members will also realise that the Government has very promptly tabled all the reports coming to it from expert bodies or expert persons whom it has asked to make reports to it. It might be useful if I read, or perhaps honourable gentlemen will give leave for me to incorporate in Hansard, a list of some of these nonofficial reports - that is, non-statutory reports - which have beenalready tabled.If leave is given I can save question time.


Mr SPEAKER - Is leave granted? Then being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -

REPORTS TABLED IN PARLIAMENT ON INQUIRIES INSTITUTED BY THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT

28 February- Tabled by

Report by Mr Justice Moore on the Mr Whitlam Inquiry into Steel Price Increases proposed by BHP and AIS. 15 March-

Bilingual Education in Schools in Mr Beazley Aboriginal Communities in the Northern Territory (Requested by Minister for Education on 22.1 . 73). 3 April-

Report on Employment Problems in Mr Cameron the Port of Portland. 11 April-

Components of the growth of Mr Uren Australia's Major Urban Centres 2 May-

Report of the Health Insurance Mr Hayden Planning Committee 2 May-

Report from the Academy of Science Mr Whitlam on the Biological Effects of Nuclear Explosion Fall-out (Request from Prime Minister 12.2.73). 3 May-

Location, nature and development of Mr Beazley Institutions of Tertiary Education in Sydney, Melbourne and Albury/ Wodonga (Prepared by AUC and ACAE). 17 May-

Biological Effects of Nuclear Explosion Mr Whitlam Fall-out (Meeting between Australian/French scientists, Canberra 7-9/5/73). 17 May-

Academic Salaries - Report of Inquiry Mr Beazley by Mr Justice Campbell, dated May 1973.


Mr WHITLAM - I thank the House.







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