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Thursday, 17 March 1932


Mr GULLETT (Henty) (Minister for Trade and Customs) . - As a result of helpful and constructive criticism by members of all parties,* the Government has decided to propose certain amendments to the bill.


Mr Beasley - Would not this explanation come more fittingly from the Postmaster-General?


Mr GULLETT - The Government desires to announce these proposed changes to the House, and if the PostmasterGeneral intervened at this stage he would close the debate. I have risen, not to make a comprehensive statement on the bill, but merely to indicate the nature of the proposed amendments. The first, and perhaps most important, is iu clause 5, which reads - ]. For the purposes of this act, there shall be a com mission, to be known as the Australian Broadcasting Commission, which shall be charged with the general administration of this act. subject to such directions (if any) as are from time to time given by the Minister.

The suggested amendment is that the words " subject to such directions, if any, as are from time to. time given by the Minister " shall be omitted. Critics of this clause have been divided, some urging that the commission has too much power, and others that the Minister has reserved too much control. On reconsideration of the matter the Government is prepared to grant greater power to the commission than was originally intended. If we can secure a capable commission we should entrust to it complete. control of this important social service.

Clause 16 sets out the functions of the commission, and sub-clause 2 provides -

The hours during which programmes shall be broadcast from the various national broadcasting stations shall be subject to the approval of the Minister.

Several honorable members pointed out that that seemed to be an unnecessary reservation of power to the Minister, and the Government has acquiesced in that view. Therefore, sub-clause 2 will be eliminated.

The alteration to clause IS is perhaps more contentious. The clause gives to the commission power to compile, publish, and circulate such papers, magazines, periodicals, books, &c, as it thinks fit, and to issue, as the British Broadcasting Corporation does, programmes and other matters of interest to listeners. The fear was expressed that the commission might decide to exercise exclusively the right to publish the programmes of the national broadcasting stations. The Government has decided that that would be undesirable. In the interests of listeners, the widest publicity should be given to programmes, and honorable members will agree that publications dealing with programmes should be comprehensive, and relate to B class as well as national stations. Therefore, we are providing that the commission's power to publish and issue this information shall not be exclusive; the programmes' will be available for publication by any firm or person interested in broadcasting.

Clause 22 reads - -

1.   The ' commission shall not broadcast advertisements in general, but may, with the approval of the Minister, and subject to such stipulations (if any) as are contained in that approval, broadcast announcements having some definite relation to particular items contained in the programme which it is broadcasting.

2.   Nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing the commission from broadcasting, if it thinks fit, sponsored programmes accompanied by acknowledgments to the persons by whom they were made available.

The Government never intended that the commission should engage in general advertising in competition with other enterprises, but the clause seemed to awaken apprehension on that score in the minds of many honorable members.


Mr Paterson - Sub-clause 1 would have made that possible.


Mr GULLETT - It might be possible, sothe Government has decided to amend the clause to read -

1.   The commission shall not broadcast advertisements.

2.   Nothing in this sectionshall be construedas preventing the commission from broadcasting if it thinks fit -

(a)   any announcement of its own future programmes:

(b)   a programme supplied by any organization, firm or person engaged in artistic, literary, musical or theatrical production or in educational pursuits; or

(c)   a programme supplied by any organization, firm or person; provided the programme is not, in the opinion of the commission, being used as an advertisement.


Mr HOLLOWAY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - Why not say frankly that the commission may broadcast anything for which there is to be no payment?







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