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Tuesday, 18 April 1972
Page: 1140

Senator McMANUS - I desire to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise. Will the Minister note that many responsible citizens fully agree with the opinion expressed by Mr K. Beazley, M.P., the Australian Labor Party's spokesman on education, that 'The Little Red Schoolbook' aims to produce violent, cynical, disillusioned slobs at the age of IS and is a mixture of marihuana and militancy? Will the Minister also note that as a teacher of many year's experience I have read the book and regard it as an ideal text book to indoctrinate the kind of student whose violence, political extremism and lack of morality are poisoning university life and promoting the defiance of law and order, which the Government is pledged to uphold? Will action be taken against this publication?

The PRESIDENT - I remind the Senate that I do not intend to call Ministers to reply to questions while they cannot be heard because of uproar in the chamber and loud conversations taking place.

Senator COTTON - The Minister for Customs and Excise in another place has authorised me to make the following comment on this matter: The Government has considered the question of The Little Red Schoolbook' and has agreed that the decision of the Minister for Customs and Excise was correct in not declaring it a prohibited import in terms of regulation 4(a) of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations. On the best advice available, the Minister had no alternative but to make the decision which he did. However the Government is concerned with some aspects of the book and is disturbed that it may be distributed and used in schools. The Commonwealth will therefore take appropriate action to exercise its influence and authority to prevent the book's distribution and use in schools under its control. It hopes that State governments will do likewise.

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