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Thursday, 27 September 1973
Page: 1691

Mr SINCLAIR (New England) - Again, the Opposition supports the amendments that have been moved by the PostmasterGeneral (Mr Lionel Bowen). It is unfortunate that the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby), showing such short interest in the legislation, has now left us. He injected into the debate one of the real problems of the initial legislation. It is all very well talking about changes long after the changes have been made. If he had had the concern which he now expresses for his electorate, this Bill would never have been introduced into this Parliament in its original form. He, after all, is a member of Cabinet and as a participant in the original decision is as bound as every member of the Labor Party in this Parliament is by the way in which the Bill distinguished and showed prejudice against every country newspaper in Australia, including those in the Riverina.

The Opposition believes that the changes now submitted by the Postmaster-General are a more realistic basis upon which there should be variations of the postal rates. For that reason, it supports them. The Opposition and the Australian Country Party have been particularly concerned at the way in which this legislation discriminated against country newspapers and against those who live in areas where communications are not as easy as they are in the big metropolitan cities. The amendments do considerably facilitate the mainten ance of these country periodicals and newspapers. For those reasons the amendments are not only desirable but essential.

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