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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 1383

Senator GREENWOOD (VICTORIA) -My question is directed to the Attorney-General in his capacity as Minister representing the Prime Minister. I refer to the controversy which has developed as to whether the Jackson Pollock painting 'Blue Poles' for which the Australian Government has paid $I.3m is in fact a painting by Jackson Pollock or, as is alleged, is the product of 3 artists on a drinking binge. Does the Government in the light of these allegations take the view of one art critic that it does not matter? Or is it concerned that the taxpayers' money may have been imprudently expended and, if possible, ought to be recovered? Will the Minister table the contract documents by which the daubed abstraction was acquired?

Senator MURPHY - I do not know whether the Government has any particular view on this matter. I suppose many great things as well as many foolish things have come out of the overindulgence in alcohol and other drugs. But I doubt very much that the contract which has been entered into between the Australian Government- if there is a contract- and those selling the painting would throw very much light on this matter. I suppose the painting may best be judged by what it is rather than how it came about.

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