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Tuesday, 15 October 1974
Page: 1722

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - Mr President, I wind up the debate and reply briefly to the matters that have been raised, other than the matter to which Senator Sir Magnus Cormack addressed his mind and on which subject Senator Murphy has already replied. My colleague Senator Keeffe spoke on the present system in Queensland and alluded to the maltreatment of certain prisoners at certain institutions. At the time he spoke I was under the impression that Senator Murphy would be replying, but he was called away from the chamber in his capacity as Attorney-General and I give my undertaking to Senator Keeffe that his remarks will certainly be drawn to the notice of my colleague, the Attorney-General.

Senator Raetook advantage of the motion for the adjournment of the Senate to advise us that he had attended a meeting at Launceston today in what I thought he said was the capacity of an observer representing the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden). I did happen to note that during the course of his remarks -

Senator Rae - I did not say 'observer'.

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - I was under the impression that the honourable senator was implying this, if he did not say it exactly. He was saying that neither the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) nor his representatives attended the meeting but he attended in the capacity of representative of the Leader of the Opposition. I would therefore assume that he was there as an observer for an on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition. Having said that, I did take cognisance of the fact, as my colleagues did, that Senator Rae decided to propose at the meeting a motion which was apparently adopted. I assure the honourable senator that every member of this Government is very concerned about unemployment, irrespective of where it might be. It is concerned about unemployment in Tasmania, in particular in Launceston. Hopefully, tomorrow there will be debated in this chamber a States Grants Bill which will enable all senators from Tasmania, because the Bill relates particularly to the Tasmanian economic situation, to express their points of view on ways and means by which unemployment within Tasmania in particular can be tackled. Of course, the Senate will be on the air and all 10 Senators from Tasmania, if they so wish, and any other senators who might be interested in the subject, will have the opportunity to address their remarks to the matter alluded to by Senator Rae.

I might also tell the honourable senator that tomorrow, hopefully, the Government will be introducing into the Senate the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission Bill which, when enacted by the Parliament, will make available to the State pending receipt of the Nimmo Committee report a subsidy of $2m for outward bound cargo other than bulk cargo and paper. It is an interim measure estimated to meet the additional disability for Tasmania consequent on the recent 25 per cent cent increase in Australian National Line shipping freight rates. The Bill when enacted will virtually amount, as an interim measure, to a subsidy of about $2 a ton on such outward bound cargo arrangements.

I hope, because such a measure when enacted will considerably reduce the unemployment situation in Tasmania, that it will be passed speedily and expeditiously. I hope that my colleagues in the Opposition, because of the serious unemployment situation in Tasmania, will consider now that tomorrow when that legislation does come before the Senate they should not adjourn the debate but should enable it to take place forthwith. That is one of the areas of attack that the Government has for tackling unemployment in Tasmania. I hope that we will receive the support of the Opposition in obtaining a speedy passage of the Bill.

Senator Missenspoke on the subject of the presentation of the report by my colleague, Senator James McClelland, from the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs relating to its consideration and its recommendations after its deliberations on the Family Law Bill. As the President has mentioned, the matter is the subject of an adjourned debate in the Senate and therefore it is not for me to add fuel to the flames at this stage because of the situation in which the matter finds itself on the notice paper. However, so far as the making available of sufficient copies of the report is concerned, I can tell the honourable senator that this morning at the time I was notified in my capacity as Manager of Government Business in the Senate that the Bill was to be reported, his leader- the Leader of the Opposition, Senator Withers- was in my office. It was there and then that I picked up the telephone in my capacity as Minister for the Media and spoke to the Australian Government Publishing Service, which is a branch of my Department, and asked that steps be taken to ensure that a sufficient number of copies of the report was made available and distributed as widely as possible.

I was told at the time that because the report was in a roneoed form and not in a printed form there might be some difficulties involved but that my officers would investigate the matter and see what could be done to expedite the printing of sufficient copies. The last information I had just prior to the suspension of the sitting for dinner was that some filming process might be able to be engaged in and if this could be done certainly sufficient copies of the report would be made available. I will go one step further and ensure that advertisements are inserted in the newspapers and /or over radio stations letting everyone know that these copies of the report and the Bill, which is included in the report, are available through the Australian Government bookshops and inquiry centres. I thank the honourable senator for drawing my attention to the matter.

Question resolved in the affimative.

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