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Wednesday, 30 May 1973
Page: 2924

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

(1)   What steps has the Government taken to implement its election policy undertaking to reduce restrictions on public servants to the minimum necessary for the conduct of the affairsof government.

(2)   If no action has been taken, when is it proposed to implement this undertaking.

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

(1)   and (2) Considerable work has been done by departments in preparing an outline for the legislation, which will give the Australian public greater access to official information and documents and ensure that undue secrecy in public affairs is avoided. In this task they were assisted by a visit of Mr A. Mondello, General Counsel of the United States Civil Service Commission. Legislation is also under consideration designed to ensure that criminal sanctions now imposed by the Crimes Act for the unauthorised disclosure of official information are replaced by legislation of the kind recommended last year by the Franks Committee in the United Kingdom. The Public Service Board will be having discussions with staff organisations with a view to completing the review of Public Service Regulation 34(b) which deals with the question of public comments on official matters by public servants.

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