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Thursday, 12 May 1994
Page: 745

  The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Zakharov)—On behalf of the President, I present the interim report of the Joint Statutory Committee on the Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings, entitled Inquiry into the radio and television broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings.

  The report that I have just tabled on behalf of the President is the first report of the Joint Committee on the Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings of its inquiry into arrangements for the radio and television broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings. It also reports on a further reference from both houses on certain of the general principles and standing determinations dealing with radio broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings.

  The report is in two parts: first, it proposes changes to the existing rules for the radio broadcasting of proceedings. These rules are described in the committee's general principles and determinations. They were established in the early days of radio broadcasting of the parliament and a number are no longer relevant. Some require revision because of new arrangements for the coverage of proceedings on a dedicated parliamentary broadcast network. Others no longer reflect community expectation about the coverage of proceedings.

  The committee has recommended the adoption by both houses of new general principles. If agreed to, the committee proposes to alter its standing determinations in the manner described in the report. Such changes would permit, among other things, the broadcasting of proceedings of either house after 11.30 p.m. and at weekends.

  Second, the report also expresses the committee's views on a proposal by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to broadcast a 24-hour news service on the parliamentary broadcast network at times when the network is not required for parliamentary broadcasts. The committee does not oppose the ABC's proposal, but recognises that in order for the proposal to proceed it would require the approval of the Minister for Communications. The committee insists that prior to any implementation of the proposal the ABC resolve with the committee some practical questions in relation to the operation of a news service on the parliamentary broadcast network.