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Thursday, 12 May 1994
Page: 747

Senator VANSTONE (12.34 p.m.) —It is a pleasure for me to speak as a member of the Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings Committee. I moved the motion, after some considerable debate, both internally and in this place, to have the televising, as opposed to the broadcasting, of proceedings started on a trial run in the Senate. The motion was accepted, and the House of Representatives saw good sense and followed our lead in that respect.

  It is important not to forget that, while we and the community pay an enormous amount of attention to those elements of parliament that are televised, nonetheless a very significant proportion of the community has as its primary source of information about parliament and politics the broadcasting of parliamentary services. It is very important that we do not simply lose our priorities and believe that television is everything and forget the importance of keeping the parliamentary broadcasting arrangements up to date. I think this report makes a contribution to that.

  There will be further reports from that committee on how we can extend the access of the community to parliament because, after all, we need to remind ourselves every day that so very few people live in the Australian Capital Territory. Many people might live in New South Wales and have not very expensive access to parliament; they can come along to see it on a fairly regular basis as a part of a tour. But for an enormous number of Australians their only access is through the electronic media. We have an obligation to spend some time, in a bipartisan or non-partisan way, working to extend the access of the community to parliamentary proceedings.