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Thursday, 7 May 1970

Mr PEACOCK - I have seen the segment to which the honourable member has referred. I should say to the honourable member that according to my advice 'Four Comers' sought permission to produce a programme showing in effect a day in the life of a cadet at the Royal Military College, Duntroon. The timing was related to the presentation of Colours by the Queen, which 'Four Corners' proposed should be the culmination of its film. I approved the request on that basis. My Department provided full facilities to the 'Four Corners' team. A week was spent filming most aspects of a cadet's life, including academic studies, military training, range practice, a class room sequence, lectures and discussion groups, as well as a ceremonial and drill segment. I understand that it is common practice to film considerably more material than will be shown. However, in this instance the editing appeared to be deliberately couched to give an unbalanced picture. For example, persons alleged to be cadets were shown doing pushups and showering in uniform. This is hardly honest filming in that I am assured the persons were not cadets. Therefore this sequence was faked.

Furthermore, although three-quarters of a cadet's life is taken up with academic studies at degree level this aspect was hardly mentioned. I agree with the honourable member's description of the film as projecting a distorted picture of Duntroon. Personally I regard the film as a shallow portrayal and projection which lacked depth and analysis and was not up to the standards which one would expect of a 'Four Corners' production.

Mr Jess - Yes it was.

Mr PEACOCK - Well, established institutions must expect that they will be periodically analysed and criticised, but I believe that they have a right to expect that such analysis and criticism will be fair and objective. Fortunately, the fact that this particular analysis was neither fair nor objective will hardly tarnish an institution as great as the Royal Military College, Duntroon.

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