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Wednesday, 3 June 1942


Mr BEASLEY (West Sydney) (Minister for Supply and Development) . - I have often said that, for the first time since this war began, the Government has now to have very close regard to what is said publicly by its representatives, in connexion, with matters that relate to foreign affairs. I believe that to-day we are called upon to evolve what might be termed a foreign policy of our own. Formerly, Ave acted largely upon what had been decided by Great Britain. Because of the war and of the position in which we are now placed, the circumstances are different. Having decided what it thought ought to he done in regard to our foreign relations, the Government has set out to do it. It is conceivable that a commentator on a national station may make references cutting across a purpose which the Government considered should be effected. The commission might not be aware of the plan or the desires of the Government. Consequently, there must be in the Government some power to give effect to its view, particularly in relation to broadcasting. The circulation which broadcast matter may have is obvious to all honorable members. In the past, oral instructions have sometimes been given to the commission, but it is felt that it would be more satisfactory for all parties if instructions were given in writing. Then, if the commission felt disposed to question the instructions, it would have some definite ground to go on. The giving of instructions in writing would be a safeguard, both to the commission and to the Minister. In the British Broadcasting Act, it is provided that -

3.   The Postmaster-General may from time to time by notice in writing to the corporation require the corporation to refrain from sending any broadcast matter (either particular or general) specified in such notice and the definition of broadcast matter hereinbefore contained shall from time to time be read construed and take effect subject to the provisions of any such notice or notices which may have been given by the PostmasterGeneral. The Postmaster-General may at any time or times revoke or vary any such notice as aforesaid. Any such notice may specify whether or not the corporation may at its discretion announce that the notice has been given.

A commentator may be in the habit of referring to a foreign power in a manner which the Government regards as unfriendly. The Government must be supreme in these matters, and should have authority to prevent the continuation of such broadcasts.







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