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Tuesday, 16 October 1973
Page: 2215

Mr DALY (Grayndler) (Minister for Services and Property) - I suppose we have heard some strange speeches in this Parliament but rarely have we heard one in which a member of the Australian Country Party said that people running these broadcasting stations were not in business for profit. This statement comes from one of the disciples of private enterprise who say that they must make a profit and are entitled to make it. Yet tonight the honourable member for Maranoa (Mr Corbett) has asked this Parliament to believe that one of the commercial broadcasting stations affected by this legislation, by a very minimal amount, went into business for the good of the community. I say to the honourable member for Maranoa that that is a lot of rot. I have never heard anything so silly in my life. If that is the case it is a funny thing that no licence has ever been surrendered. No station has ever given its licence away.

Does the honourable member seriously suggest to this Parliament that those stations that support the Country Party in season and out stupidly and unobjectively, are not in the game for profit? Of course they are. Amongst other things, they are in business to destroy the Australian Labor Party. This is just a fantasy. Fancy these commercial broadcasting stations not being in business for profit. I wonder whether Sir Frank Packer has ever heard of the honourable member. I wonder whether Sir Frank Packer is 'in the business for fun and does not want to make a profit. Does the honourable member for Maranoa seriously suggest that? Does he suggest that all these companies throughout the country districts that own the chains of broadcasing stations are not in business for profit? Does he really think they are there to make the people of Orange, Hughenden or somewhere else happy?

Mr Corbett - I did not say that.

Mr DALY - That is precisely what you said. The honourable member for Maranoa tells us that these companies are in it for the good of the community, that they are there not to make a profit but entirely to spread goodwill and harmony right throughout the length and breadth of the country districts. And every so often they have to say in the course of spreading that harmony 'Vote No. 1 Country Party'. That was the only reason that the honourable member for Maranoa rose to speak tonight. It was not because these stations were such goodwill organisations but that in season and out they not only make a profit but also advocate voting for the Country Party.

The Bill we are discussing proposes a miserable increase in fees paid by the broadcasting stations. As far as we are concerned, they amount to next to nothing. From memory it will amount to about $60,000 a year. The significant part about this-

Mr Ian Robinson (COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why not tell the truth? The second reading speech of the Minister referred to double that figure. Why did you not read the Minister's second reading speech before you commenced to speak?

The CHAIRMAN - Order! The honourable member for Cowper has spoken in the debate.

Mr DALY - The interesting part of this debate is that not one member of the Liberal Party has spoken; for once, they have dis played remarkable intelligence because they know that these companies are not in it for fun. They are in it for profit and all that goes with it. It is years since any increase has been made. There has been no increase since 1964. What would honourable members opposite say if their salaries had not gone up since 1964? They would be screaming to high heaven for an increase, and so they were, but when we introduced a measure to increase our salaries honourable members opposite would not vote for it because they are phoneys.

Costs have risen since 1964. Does the honourable member for Maranoa suggest that these charges should remain stationary forever? Does he honestly suggest that there should never be any increase or that these stations should not bear some of the costs that are associated with increasing prices? When all is said and done, honourable members opposite are continually talking about inflation and the cost of living, but now they are opposed to a miserable increase by this amount. As a matter of fact, 1 wondered whether the Bill was worth bringing in, so little was the amount of increase proposed. It is such a small amount it is a wonder that the Bill was introduced. But, of course, I am horrified to think that we are doing something to the people who are in business for goodwill. I wish that David Jones Ltd thought the same way; we would get cheaper goods. I wish that big industry would take the same approach as the people referred to by the honourable member for Maranoa. I am a person who does not believe they are in it for the good of the country. I think they are in it for what they can get out of it, on a profit basis. If they are free enterprise organisations, that is the very basis of their being in business.

Just because these broadcasting stations support the Country Party is no reason why they should not meet their obligations. Therefore I excuse members of the Country Party for defending these stations. Why would they not defend them? The stations support the Country Party in season and out. They give the Country Party free time on the radio and all that goes with the benefits that we will cover in the Bill we are bringing down. Now, in this Parliament, members of the Country Party act in effect as the paid agents of these stations, trying to stop an increase of a small amount. That is why I rose tonight.

Mr Corbett - Why do you not read what some of the stations have had to say?

Mr DALY - The honourable member who interjects reminds me of an artificially inseminated cow - there is something wonderful happening inside him and he does not know what it is all about. All I say to the honourable member is that he does not know what it is all about when he says that these stations are in business for fun, because they are not. They are in it for profit and they ought to pay their way. That is all that this Bill does and if honourable members opposite think we are going to believe the fantasy that they are in broadcasting for fun, they can pull their own legs but they will not pull ours. All we are asking them to do is to pay a proportion of the increased costs. The increases proposed by this Bill are reasonable. Honourable members can judge for themselves what the stations give to their Country Party when honourable members opposite kick up such a stink about $60,000. No wonder they are fighting to protect the oil and minerals industries and the others who are putting in millions more than that. I just mention these matters tonight in order that the Parliament will know that the arguments of honourable members opposite are phoney and should be dismissed.

Mr CORBETT(Maranoa) - Mr Chairman, I wish to make a personal explanation.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Scholes - Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr CORBETT - Yes, by the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly). He misrepresented what I said. He claimed that I referred to all broadcasting stations, but I said there were some stations in that position. It was a complete misrepresentation. I had hoped that the Minister as a Minister would try to stick to the truth. In support of my contention that I have been misrepresented I should like to refer to figures relating to the period from 1967-68 to 197'l-72. There were from 9 to 19 stations showing a loss in that period. There were 19 stations in this position in 1971-72 and it is those 19 stations to which I referred, not to David Jones Ltd and all the other companies and stations the Minister mentioned when misrepresenting what I said. I believe that he should be ashamed of himself by resorting to that type of debate; it characterises the Minister for Services and Property.

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