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Wednesday, 18 November 1959

Mr BRYANT (WILLS, VICTORIA) - I address my question to the Postmaster-General. If the policy is, as he stated, to increase the Australian content of television programmes, how does he account for the fact that the last report of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board indicated that the Australian content was decreasing, particularly on the commercial stations, and that many programmes of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, particularly those associated with the last war, could have an Australian content? Will he take steps to inform the commission and the licensees of other television stations that, as far as he knows, Australian forces took part in the last war?

Mr DAVIDSON - The honorable member for Wills stated that the use of Australian talent on television was declining. That is not correct. He stated, also, that a recent report showed that this is so. A recent report showed that there had been some small drop in the percentage of Australian programmes in the total of programmes, but that there had been a considerable increase in the number of hours during which the stations operated, and that the percentage drop arose from the fact that the increase of Australian programmes was not as large as the increase in total hours. However, the actual number of hours provided for Australian talent has not been reduced nor has the number of Australians employed decreased. In fact, there has been an increase.

To add to my previous reply, Mr. Speaker, I point out that licensees on a number of occasions have shown their desire to use Australian talent and have actually run competitions and conferred with organizations such as Actors Equity of Australia to try to build up the Australian content. The honorable member for Wills also referred to the Australian Broadcasting Commission. I think that every one will agree that the commission does not deserve any criticism whatever for its use of Australian talent. It presents a high percentage of dramas and other features that use a good deal of Australian talent and in that regard deserves approbation.

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