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Wednesday, 11 December 1974
Page: 3364

Senator SHEIL (QUEENSLAND) - I ask the Minister for the Media: Is it a fact that the Government has recently established a great propaganda machine in Queensland in the form of, firstly, the Australian Information Service staffed by Mr Glynn May, and a journalist and a photographer; secondly, an information officer, fully equipped and on Telex, Richard Whitington, representing the Prime Minister's Department, following a request for him contained in a minute from the Queensland Central Executive to the Prime Minister; and thirdly, the Australian Government Liaison Office under the command of Mr Jack Stanaway, a former public relations officer for the Australian Labor Party in Queensland and an unsuccessful applicant for Press secretary to Mr Houston? What is the purpose of this great propaganda machine when Commonwealth Government public relations officers exist in Queensland anyway? What is it all costing and why is it necessary to have 3 separate information services, especially in Queensland?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -So far as the Australian Information Service is concerned, it has always been in existence since being a branch of what was the former News and Information Bureau. The Australian Information Service is responsible for the dissemination abroad of information about Australia and also about Australian Government activities internally. 'Ever since the section was established many years ago- I think in the early 1940s- it has had this responsibility. So, certainly, it is not true to say that the Australian Information Service has recently been established in Brisbane. Whether or not there has been an increase in staff so far as a photographer is concerned, frankly I would not know. But that service has always been in Queensland. I know very little about the services of Mr Richard Whitington. I think it comes within the purview of my colleagues, the Minister for Health, the Minister for Northern Development and the Minister for Social Security, all of whom are Queensland Ministers. They have arranged amongst themselves for this sort of communication activity.

Senator Drake-Brockman - Are there no Press officers there?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -As I understand it- in reply to Senator DrakeBrockman Mr Whitington is employed on the staff of one of them or conjointly amongst three of them. Again, it is not my responsibility. It does not come within my Ministerial portfolio. I am merely trying to be of assistance to the honourable senator. I can tell the honourable senator that only last Monday at a Cabinet meeting the Australian Government decided to extend the area of activity of my Department by establishing an Australian Government liaison service. So far as I am aware, no appointments have yet been made.

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