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Friday, 25 June 1926

Senator GUTHRIE (Victoria) . - I should not have taken part in this debate but for the remarks of Senator Foll concerning film censorship. I deny that there is a vendetta against picture shows in Australia. Every one realizes that moving pictures are the most popular form of entertainment in the world. There is, however, a feeling that pictures should be produced in the British Empire to depict the traditions of our race and Empire and to advertise the great advantages for settlement offered by our far-flung dominions. Senator Foll has suggested that, because a majority of the Senate desires a slight increase in the duty on foreign picture films there is some sort of vendetta against the industry itself. That is not so. The honorable senator also suggested that the Commonwealth censors, including Professor Wallace in Melbourne, were not doing their duty.

Senator Foll -I did not.

Senator GUTHRIE - As regards the proposed increase in the duty on foreign films, the honorable senator must know that the picture industry in Australia is not being (harassed in any way. Last year no less than 100,000,000 people paid for admission to moving picture shows in Australia. The proposed increase in the duty on foreign films will not amount to more than l-5d. on each ticket of admission.

Senator Foll - I rise to order. At your request, Mr. Deputy President, I desisted from discussing the proposed increase in the duty on picture films. Consequently Senator Guthrie cannot say how my argument would have developed had I been allowed to continue. My remarks, subsequent to your ruling, related entirely to the arrangements between the two censorship officers in Melbourne and Sydney, and I submit that Senator Guthrie is not in order now in debating the proposed increase inthe duty on picture films.

Senator Grant - I listened to Senator Foll, and to the point of order raised by the Minister (Senator Pearce), and although your ruling, sir, was against Senator Foll, he dealt fully with the censorship of films.

Senator Foll - There is an item in the schedule relating to the censorship of films.

Senator Grant - The consideration accorded to Senator Foll should be extended to Senator Guthrie to enable the honorable senator to explain his attitude.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Newlands). - I ask Senator Guthrie to discuss the item in the bill, and not to refer to the point raised by Senator Foll as to the duty on films.

Senator GUTHRIE - I consider it very desirable that adequate funds be made available to meet the expense incurred by the censor and his staff. In order 'to show how necessary it is to pro vide money to meet the cost of this important work, I may mention that, of the 19,000,000 feet of "Feature" films imported into Australia during 1925, over 9,000,000 feet were censored, and approximately 1,700,000 feet of objectionable stuff had to be entirely cut out and returned to the country of origin. Those figures are, I think, sufficient to indicate the necessity of placing sufficient money at the disposal of the Censor's Department to enable it to carry out the work efficiently.

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