Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 7 December 1976
Page: 3418

Mr Eric Robinson (MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND) - The Government rejects the amendment moved by the Opposition. It is quite unnecessary. The honourable member for Maribyrnong (Dr Cass), apparently wants to spell out in great detail what the responsibilities of the Council ought to be, and to add considerably to the proposed representation on the Broadcasting Council. He has not explained satisfactorily to me- not that I want to encourage him to do so- why he wants to have a representative of the Australia Council, of the Australian Film and Television School and of the Schools Commission on the Council.

What I hope the Opposition accepts, as does the industry, is that the Government sees a very real role for this Broadcasting Council. It does not see it to the extent that the Opposition sees it. It certainly does not see it to the extent that there should be additional and added expenditure on a number of part time members and yet another full time member. One full time chairman is, I think, specified in the amendment and no doubt the Opposition will have in mind a secretariat, further growth in the bureaucracy and further growth in expenditure. What the Government looks to in this Council is for representatives of all sectors of the system, whether they be from public or commercial broadcasting, from the department and from the community- certainly by the appointment of an independent chairmanto come together not only to comment upon Government planning and Government decisions but also to initiate their own action and through liaison and, in a consultative and advisory capacity, to be of assistance to the development and conduct of the overall system.

There is no need to have a grand committee to do that. I assure the Opposition that the composition of the board has not yet been finalised. I have indicated that the Government is thinking in terms of 2 members each from public broadcasting, commercial broadcasting and the ABC; 2 from the Department and 1 independent chairman. I see the role of the independent chairman as quite critical in this particular initiative. However, that matter has not been finally resolved other than to say that it is important- and I agree with the honourable member for Maribyrnongthat there is a balance so that the Council reflects the overall view of the industry and of the community. This can be done quite easily by regulation. There is no need for this amendment. It will make the Council larger, more of a burden on the Government and will cause additional expenditure. I cannot see in any way that it would add any additional competence to the administration of broadcasting. The Government therefore rejects the amendment. I repeat that whilst this is not a statutory body and it does not have executive power, the Government sees it as carrying out a vital role in the consultative and advisory process.

Suggest corrections