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Thursday, 1 July 1926


Senator ANDREW (Victoria) . - I am surprised at the apparent stampede of honorable senators away from their recent decision. Has anything happened since then to cause them to alter their opinions? I was under the impression that the vote on that occasion was an evidence of British sentiment in the Senate, and an earnest of our intention to encourage the production of British films.


Senator Reid - But Great Britain is not producing the pictures; that is the trouble.


Senator ANDREW - I understand that we are importing 1,000,000 feet of British films a year as against 20,000,000 feet of American films. As for the argument that the extra1d. a foot would bc passed on to the public, the increase is so infinitesimal that it is hardly likely that that would be done.


Senator Thompson - Picture-show proprietors have announced that they will pass it on.


Senator ANDREW - Then the Parliament should consider legislation to ensure the screening of a certain percentage of British films in all Australian picture theatres.


Senator GREENE (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Parliament has not the power to do that.


Senator Thompson - Certain of the State Governments are taking action in that direction.


Senator ANDREW - The States have not done much up to the present. It has also been said that the American companies, to dodge the payment of company income tax in Australia, establish distributing companies in the Commonwealth, and debit them with, say, £20,000, as cost of distribution, as against a revenue of £15,000. Perhaps the parent companies in America can be forced to contribute to the Commonwealth revenue by being required to pay a commission on all films imported.


Senator GREENE (NEW SOUTH WALES) - They would pass that on to the public, too.


Senator ANDREW -Then the only solution appears to be the production of pictures in Australia. It has been objected that the industry would not be profitable. That has been the experience of many new business ventures. If the shareholders of a film producing company could stand up to competition, and get over their initial difficulties, and if, by legislation, we could help them, it should be possible to build up the moving picture industry in Australia.I see no reason why I should change my vote on this item. I believe the imposition of the extra duty will help to some extent to build up a great industry in the Commonwealth.







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