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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 115

(Question No. 4548)

Mr Millar asked the Minister for Communications, upon notice, on 17 September 1986:

Did the ABC program Four Corners undertake an opinion poll of West Bank Palestinian Arabs; if so, (a) what was the cost of the poll, (b) at what level of the ABC does such a poll require authorisation, (c) was it conducted together with the pro-Palestine Liberation Organisation newspaper Al-Fajr and (e) (sic) who framed the poll questions.

Mr Duffy —The following answer to the honourable member's question is based upon information provided by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

(a) The ABC was an equal partner with the New York newspaper Newsday and the Palestinian newspaper Al-Fajr in funding a public opinion poll of Palestinian residents of the West Bank and the Gaza. The ABC's contribution was $US2100.

(b) Depending on the nature of the poll and costs involved, authorisation would be in the hands of the Executive Producer or Department Head.

(c) See (a).

(e) The questions were constructed in discussion between several parties from the sponsoring media organisations and those conducting the poll. The poll was conducted in the field by Dr Mohammed Shadid, Head of the Political Science Faculty at An Najr University in Nablus on the West Bank. Dr Shadid worked together with two other distinguished pollsters on the survey: Meron Benvenisti, an Israeli academic and former Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, who runs the West Bank Data Project; and Professor Rick Seltzer from Howard University, Washington, DC.