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Wednesday, 20 September 1972
Page: 996

Senator YOUNG - ls the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise aware' of a report in Monday's South Australian 'News' that the policymaking convention of the South Australian Labor Party has agreed that there will be virtually no censorship in South Australia next year under a South Australian Labor Government? Can he state what power the Commonwealth has in this regard and whether it is possible for a State government to agree to the publication of a book or general literature if the Commonwealth Government has banned its entry into Australia?

Senator COTTON - We noticed this in the office yesterday and accordingly asked the Department of Customs and Excise whether it could let us have some information, as we thought the matter might be raised in the Senate. I am extraordinarily pleased to have the approbation of my colleagues opposite. I agree that it is an exercise in foresight that is to be highly commended. The role of my colleague, the Minister for Customs and Excise, is in relation to imported publications which are dealt with in the terms of regulation 4A of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations. This regulation applies to publications that are (a) blasphemous, indecent or obscene; and (b) unduly emphasise sex, horror, violence or crime likely to corrupt or deprave and to advertising matter relating to such goods. This regulation is administered in terms of current community standards. The States, for their part, are responsible for control over locally produced publications and over the distribution and sale of both locally produced and imported publications within their own boundaries. The Minister for Customs and Excise and his Department, as is well known to us all, work in close association with the States with the object of achieving uniformity of standards. The Commonwealth and State Ministers have, since 1968, been parties to an agreement which provides for the uniform censorship of imported and locally produced books of literary, artistic or scientific merit.

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