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Friday, 10 May 1985
Page: 1759

Senator JONES —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Communications. Has the Minister's attention been drawn to a report in the Brisbane Courier-Mail of 5 February 1985 in which former directors of Queensland Television Ltd, operators of QTQ Channel 9, claimed that they had been told that the Queensland Premier, Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen, would have a hand in appointing their successors? Subsequently were Sir Edward Lyons, a trustee of the National Party, and another member of that Party, Mr Peter Gallagher, appointed Deputy Chairman and a director respectively following a takeover of the company by the Bond Corporation? Has any investigation been undertaken by either the Federal Government or the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal to ascertain that political appointments have not been made to boards of television and radio broadcasting companies, notably QTQ Channel 9, as alleged in the Courier-Mail on 25 February?

Senator WALSH —I have been told of the article in question. I understand that Sir Edward Lyons and Mr Gallagher were appointed to the Board of QTQ9 following the takeover by the Bond Corporation of Queensland Television Ltd. I also believe that Sir Edward has since resigned his position, along with another more significant resignation from another position. The Australian Broadcasting Tribunal commenced a public hearing on 1 May into the acquisition of Queensland Television, which was the holder of the QTQ9 licence. One of the issues being investigated by the Tribunal in that inquiry is the manner in which new directors have been appointed to the Board and the background and experience of those directors in relation to the operation of the station, as distinct, I presume, from the operation of a few other things around Brisbane. I understand that this includes whether there was any and, if so, what, government or political involvement in the appointment of the directors. The hearing was adjourned on 2 May and is scheduled to recommence on 23 July.