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Wednesday, 6 May 1942

Senator SPICER (Victoria) .- [ am not concerned with this matter from the point of view of allowing a New South Wales station to broadcast material during an election campaign and of preventing a Victorian station from doing so. If the Minister will consider this clause, I think that the position will he quite clear to him. It says that during the election period - in the case of a byelection in Queensland it would be a period of three days - the commission shall not broadcast any political speech or any matter relating to a political subject. That means that, if there is a byelection in Queensland, no speech by a Commonwealth Minister relating to a national matter, and having nothing whatever to do with the by-election in Queensland, may be broadcast. That is what the clause provides in perfectly plain language. It also provides in equally clear language that during that by-election period no matter relating to a political subject may be broadcast. We could not be told during those three days what was going on in the House of Commons, or what was taking place in this Senate. The committee did not intend that. What it intended was that there should not be broadcast during that period any matter relating to a political subject that was in issue in the particular election concerned. It did not mean that, because of a byelection in Queensland, a Commonwealth Minister could not broadcast a speech about Commonwealth politics. The provision is so wide as to make it ridiculous. I do not pretend to suggest what precise words should be inserted. Consideration of this clause should be postponed, or the matter should he left to regulations.

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