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Wednesday, 6 May 1942

Senator LAMP (Tasmania) .- Sub-clause 2 of clause 96 provides - (2.) Not less than two and one-half per centum of the total time occupied by the National Broadcasting Service and not less than two and one-half per centum of the total time occupied by any commercial broadcasting station in the broadcasting of music shall be devoted to the broadcasting of works of Australian composers, produced either on sound records made in Australia or by artists actually present in the studio of the broadcasting station concerned.

In my opinion the 2£ per cent, mentioned in the sub-clause is insufficient. For a number of years, I have been endeavouring to induce the Australian Broadcasting Commission to encourage local talent by holding State competitions and then a Commonwealth grand championship each year, using the talent so discovered for broadcasting purposes, thus obviating the necessity to import bo many overseas' artists. Song writers and composers generally in this country have great difficulty in getting their work broadcast over the national stations or recorded by the gramophone companies. At present, the gramophone recording companies are controlled by an outside monopoly and all profits go to other countries. My suggestion is that the 2£ per cent, provided for in this subclause be stepped up gradually to 50 per cent., say, over a period of ten years. Surely we have song-writers and musicians in Australia who are capable of giving us Australian music, and so reducing the broadcasting of imported jazz items. In support of my argument T desire to place on record a statement which I think sets out concisely the views of Australian composers in regard to this matter. It is written by an Australian song-writer whose songs were produced and broadcast in England, one written with an Australian collaborator, winning a first prize offered by the British Broadcasting Corporation, and another having a world broadcast through that Corporation since the composer returned to Australia. She was to appear before the British Broadcasting Corporation, London, in September, 1940, but having worked in evacuation centres and volunteered for evacuation by sea, was appointed to help to bring 480 British evacuated children to Australia in August of that year. Since returning to Australia she has found the nation's songwriters in the same position as they were when the conditions of boycott forced her to leave the country in 1938, when less than 1 per cent, of the songs circulated throughout Australia were Australianwritten. She has letters proving that the boycott dates from 1925, when one of the Australian importers of Hollywood songs wrote to her confessing that her songs contained merit but that his firm was bound by overseas' contracts. This same influence, but to-day considerably wealthier, blocked the song of the British evacuated children from being recorded and published on their arrival, after its great publicity in the Australian press and at all the ports of call on the historic voyage from Liverpool to Sydney. The Children's Welfare Department, Melbourne, asked the composer in vain for a record of the song, which is needed for the Australia-Britain talks of the evacuated children to-day, whilst such songs as Hallelujah, I'm .a Bum and FiatFootedFloojie are recorded, and are for sale everywhere in Australia.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Brown).Order! I have listened very carefully to the honorable senator's remarks and 1 cannot see how they can be related to the clause now under discussion. They would have been quite in order on the second reading of the bill.

Senator LAMP - I am merely trying to prove that Australian song-writers arc not getting a fair deal from gramophone recording companies, and from the Australian Broadcasting Commission. My suggestion is that the percentage of Australian music broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission should be increased.

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