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Wednesday, 26 November 1986
Page: 3813

Mr LINDSAY(7.31) —Tonight I pay a tribute to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for the magnificent way in which it has responded to the challenge to televise the historic visit to Australia of His Holiness Pope John Paul II. The visit to Australia by Pope John Paul II is the most extensive visit by a head of state since the 1954 tour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It has offered the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, as host broadcaster, one of its biggest challenges. Because adequate coverage of the papal visit is beyond the capacity of any one television network, the Hawke Government has requested the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to act as host broadcaster, pooling the contributions of its own television studios and those of the commercial networks in every capital city. The host broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, has to ensure coverage of a visit involving 57 events at 48 locations in nine cities in 6 1/2 days. No fewer than 49 separate papal motorcades are involved.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has established a special host broadcasting unit based in Melbourne to arrange and co-ordinate coverage. The host broadcasting unit will see to the placing of 1,263 production staff, 61 outside broadcast vans, 309 television cameras, 568 microphones, 181 link systems and 31 helicopter flights-truly a gigantic logistic exercise. The host broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, will also make available for transmission by contributing broadcasters in excess of 56 hours of live coverage of the papal visit. An additional 8 1/2 hours of recorded coverage will also be made available on a delayed basis.

The ABC television coverage of the papal tour began last Monday afternoon, 24 November, when His Holiness arrived in Canberra and was given an official welcome. That was followed by a 12 1/2 kilometre procession to the National Exhibition Centre at Mitchell, where the Pope celebrated mass. I had the pleasure and privilege of attending that mass. Highlights of that historic day's events were screened by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. This included the Pope's reception at Government House and his visit to Parliament House, where he met the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) and had the opportunity of meeting other government leaders. I would like to record also that I had the privilege of being present in King's Hall in Parliament House, where I had the opportunity of hearing the magnificent speech by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, on what was the first visit of a Pope to the Australian Parliament.

I would like to congratulate the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on its magnificent response to the invitation by the Federal Government to provide telecommunication facilities to record this historic visit by His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Australia. I would like to single out for particular mention Mr Howard Parker, the project director for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and Mr Allen Pridmore, the head of television production, for their skill and dedication in meeting these challenges to provide the logistic services. I am confident that, when the visit of His Holiness is concluded, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation will be able to say that it has provided to this country and to its citizens the most illuminating, historical record of what is indeed a very historic visit.

I cannot let this moment pass without also recording that today is the fiftieth anniversary of radio station 4QN based in Townsville. For 50 years radio station 4QN has provided entertainment and educational services. Indeed, it is the only radio link for many people living in remote parts of Queensland. I would like to congratulate the management and staff of radio 4QN on its magnificent contribution to Australian radio.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.