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Tuesday, 16 November 1976
Page: 2675

Mr GILLARD (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is directed to the Minister for Post and Telecommunications. Is the Minister aware of mischievous speculation in the Press and a feeling amongst certain members of the community that the Government proposes to disband or reduce symphony orchestras supported by the Australian Broadcasting Commission? Is he also aware that before a recital by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra on 7 November a member of that orchestra, from the stage, criticised the Government and asked all members of the audience to sign a petition condemning the Government for its action? Can the Minister add anything further to his recent Press release to assure the community that this speculation is completely false?

Mr Eric Robinson (MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND) -It is, of course, speculation and I suppose it flowed from the fact that the Green report mentioned the substantial cost of symphony orchestras and invited the Government to consider the matter. The Government made it perfectly clear that it would have no part of any attempt to interfere with the entrepreneural activities of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, but simply said that information as to expenditure and income ought to be made available so that the Parliament would know and understand the level of that expenditure. The Government does not interfere with the internal management of the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the question of symphony orchestras is a matter for the ABC. I am not aware that at any time the ABC has given me any reason to believe that it is considering the reduction of symphony orchestras in any State of Australia.

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