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Tuesday, 8 November 1983
Page: 2439

Question No. 46


Dr Everingham asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 3 May 1983:

(1) Has his attention been drawn to the film The War Game produced by Peter Watkins and banned for 17 years by the BBC from all television world wide.

(2) If so, can he say whether the British Film Institute has been earning money from the film in cinemas since 1966 but refuses Mr Watkins a grant to produce the expanded version The Nuclear War Film until he gets another sponsor.

(3) Will he ask appropriate Ministers to co-operate with him to investigate the value of (a) sponsoring or (b) promoting and distributing the original or the projected film as part of Australia's commitment in a United Nations resolution to assist that body in the World Disarmament Campaign.


Mr Hayden —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) I am advised that the BBC took a decision not to show the film The War Game because of the effect the BBC considered that the film might have on sections of a television audience.

(2) I am also advised that the British Film Institute, the distributor of the film, has been hiring out the film to cinemas and private groups. My Department has not been able to ascertain whether the film's producer, Mr Peter Watkins, has sought to obtain a further grant from the Institute.

(3) Our High Commission in London has reported on the basis of questions put to several authorities that The War Game, which is in black and white, is now considered to be dated, and that the BBC has made a subsequent film, A Guide to Armageddon. Enquiries by my Department have indicated that the latter film may be obtained through the BBC office in Sydney at a cost of $420 for video casette , or $720 for 16 mm reel-to-reel. I have been informed that the BBC only makes copies to order and that the item would be available within three to four weeks of ordering. No budgetary provision has been made by the Government to purchase the film.