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Wednesday, 26 April 1972
Page: 1356

Senator McLAREN asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

Is an article headed 'Wined, Dined to What Purpose', published in The Courier of 2nd March 1972 reporting that last weekend the Department of Health arranged for 60 journalists, doctors and health officers to fly to Canberra, correct; if so, (a) were these visitors provided with transport from the airport in Commonwealth cars, over night accommodation, meals and drinks, (b) was the estimated cost $10,000, and (c) did the Seminar, as also reported in The Courier, develop into a verbal conflict between public servants and journalists.


The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

Following a recommendation by the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse that steps be taken to establish 'a more responsible approach to the reporting on the use of drugs and particularly of any bizarre effects', my Department arranged a national seminar on drugs and the mass media, which was held in Canberra on 26th and 27th February 1972.

(a)   As guests of the Commonwealth, the participants in this seminar were provided with transport, accommodation, meals and beverages at Commonwealth expense.

(b)   No. The estimated cost was $6,000.

(c)   No. There was a frank exchange of views. It should be noted that the seminar concluded with a resolution by senior journalists, which called for the establishment of media advisory committees in each State and. at a national level, the maintenance of liaison with drug education authorities. This resolution was unanimously endorsed, and arrangements are now being made to give effect to it.

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