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Tuesday, 17 November 1964


The CHAIRMAN (Senator McKellar (NEW SOUTH WALES) - We are not discussing that matter at all. We are discussing the amendment to clause 4, and the honorable senator is a long way from that clause.


Senator COHEN - I ask for your indulgence, Mr. Chairman, I shall not be long. I suggest that the two matters are interconnected. I am giving my reasons for not acquiescing in the Minister's proposal. The two matters are bound together. I undertake to keep within those limits. Unless our proposals are understood in relation to the second reading speech, they cannot be understood in relation to this proposal.

We raised in the debate something that had not been raised by the Minister. That was the question of encouraging Australian productions for television. We could not get support for our amendment on the second reading. When Senator Buttfield's amendment came along, we had a look at it. It appeared to us to be establishing the principle that some differential treatment might be given where people are actively engaged in the production of Australian programmes for television. It was on that basis that we supported Senator Buttfield's amendment. We see no reason why we should retreat from that position. If it was good for us on that occasion, it is good for us today. Nothing that has been said by the Minister has persuaded my colleagues and I to change our attitude in this regard.

As for the argument that if we do not now desist from this request the Government will lose revenue for some period, I think that there are two answers. First, the Government could accept the amendment. It then would not lose any revenue. Secondly, after the Bill was amended in this chamber, the Government could agree to the repealing Bill which accompanied it. If the Government had doubts about the position after we had made a request for an amendment, the question of repealing the Bill could have been deferred. All in all, we are not convinced by what the Minister has said, nor are we convinced, if I may say so with respect, by what Senator Buttfield has said. We have not received from the Minister in this debate any real assurance that he is taking positive steps in the matter. All that we have received is the assurance that he is anxious to consider the problem. That is a very different thing. It falls far short of the kind of assurance that we would need in order to say: " He is so close to evolving a scheme that we do not want to interfere ". If Senator Buttfield is satisfied with the assurance that has been given by the Minister, all I can say is that she is very easily satisfied.







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