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Tuesday, 21 May 1985
Page: 2249


Senator ROBERT RAY(5.14) —Since the National has been in progress, for some weeks, I have received two complaints about the National-which I would not say is a very high number. I have had about 25 complaints, not in an orchestrated way, about the cancelling of the football replay on Saturday nights. Honourable senators from other States may laugh, but they do not realise the seriousness of this. As Channel 2 can no longer broadcast the programs on Saturday nights at 6.30, through pressure from the Victorian Football League and Channel 7, many people in country areas get no coverage because the commercial channels in country areas pick up the replays very late when people are already in bed. The 6.30 p.m. program, uninterrupted by advertisements, was extremely popular in country areas. For those who live in the city and like going out to restaurants it was also very good, because they could watch the half hour and then go out.

It appears that the main reason for not putting the program on is lack of finance to be able to compete with a commercial channel. I know that this is an old and difficult story with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In this case, however, I would have thought that if we could lop $1m off the $30m-a-year budget of the National, a program which apparently very few people in Victoria watch, and put it into financing the football replay, that would be very much appreciated.