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Wednesday, 30 May 1973
Page: 2833


Mr DUTHIE (WILMOT, TASMANIA) - In view of the Australiawide competition for an exclusive Australian national anthem will the Prime Minister ensure that the copyright remains with the successful composer and that the royalties dependent on such copyright also go to the composer, especially as no additional cost will be required of the Commonwealth Government or the Australian people if this is done? Further, because application forms were not available until about 9 May, will the Prime Minister extend the closing date for entries by a further 2 weeks, which surely is not unreasonable considering that we have waited 185 years for an Australian anthem?


Mr WHITLAM (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Prime Minister) - I regret that 1 have to answer both questions in the negative. The Government takes the view that it would be inappropriate for the national anthem to be subject to copyright. I think this House would agree that no one should expect to derive a lifetime's income from performances of the national anthem, nor should anyone wishing to perform the anthem be subject to copyright laws. I have made it clear from the outset that a new national anthem will belong to the nation. I also point out that the terms and conditions of the quest were explained in detail beforehand to the Australian Performing Right Association. After discussion with the Australian Council for the Arts, APRA agreed that should the winning composer be a member of the Association, and should he so request, APRA will assign to the Government all rights held by APRA in the winning anthem. I commend the Association for its policy in this matter. The closing date of 31

May is for entries of words alone. Music entries and music entries in collaboration with the writers of words will be called later in the year. There is still ample time for any composer or lyric writer to submit an entry. The response of the public with word entries has been enthusiastic and overwhelming. More than 1,500 entries have already been received. I trust that all Australian composers, amateur and professional, will wish to contribute to the quest and contribute in the spirit in which it was conceived.







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