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Wednesday, 20 June 2012
Page: 7312


Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth) (18:37): This bill, the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Improved Access to Television Services) Bill 2012, has very broad support both in the House and in the community. It seeks to increase the level of captioning that is provided on both free-to-air television stations and subscription television services. The aim of the bill is to eventually achieve a captioning service on 100 per cent of a commercial broadcaster's core or primary channel during the relevant viewing hours of 6 am to midnight. This is done progressively with the bill. It also seeks to incrementally increase the captioning targets for subscription television licences.

It is a fundamental matter of social justice to ensure, as far as we can, that people with disabilities are not deprived of access to those important means of communication and information, participation in which enables them to engage fully with the rest of the Australian community. We warmly support this bill. The principles enshrined in it have had the support of the coalition in government, and captioning requirements have been increased and imposed during our time in government.

There are a number of matters which we believe would enable us to improve the bill, so we have a number of amendments which we will move when we move to consideration in detail. I will not delay the House any further, Mr Deputy Speaker Oakeshott—I did not recognise you with your glasses on there for a moment. We will not delay the House any longer on the second reading given that there is a consensus that this bill should be dealt with tonight. I will come back to the amendments at the appropriate time. Both as a matter of principle and of policy the objects of this bill are worthy ones.