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Wednesday, 11 October 1972
Page: 1407

Senator GIETZELT (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate aware that more than 4,000 important Government publications are printed annually and that approximately 1,000 of these are given to members of both Houses of the Parliament? Does he agree that these publications are of vital concern to honourable senators amd members of the other place as well as to the Australian people but that because of reading time limitations many reports are not read and not publicised? Has the Government given any consideration to making research assistance available to each member so that documents of the Parliament may have the serious consideration of members of Parliament?

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - I always remember - this is borne out by my own experience - that when a new honourable senator or honourable member comes to this Parliament he usually asks other members in a very courteous and friendly way: 'Have you any advice you would like to give me?' My advice always is: 'Do not try to read all the publications that are sent to you because if you do you will be master of nothing and you will get completely bogged down in publications'. I think that is even more the case now in 1972 than it was when I came here in 1950. We all have to make judgments. 1 agree with Senator Gietzelt that it is almost impossible to keep up with publications. The Publications Committee, which makes evaluations, has a function in relation to government publications. Perhaps the honourable senator might inform himself more of that Committee's functions. 1 must confess that I cannot so inform him at the moment. 1 do know the Committee is calculated to try to put some restraint on and to make some intelligent approach to the publication and distribution of the various government documents. 1 think that from time to time honourable senators receive questionnaires in which they are asked which publications they want sent to them. Perhaps the honourable senator could obtain some background information from the Publications Committee. If he wants to ask me another question about it, perhaps tomorrow or next week, he may do so. I will do my homework too and we may be able to obtain some further response to the question.

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