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Tuesday, 27 October 1964
Page: 1328

Senator WRIGHT (Tasmania) .- I cannot forbear on this occasion from dissociating myself from the criticism levelled at those who are responsible for the production of the " Four Corners " programmes. I have directed criticism at some programmes, but generally they are most stimulating to Australian public opinion on affairs on which most of us are grateful to be informed. I instance as one such programme the film of the excursion into Indonesia shown on Saturday week last. I hope that programmes of that stan dard will be repeated often. Their advantages outweigh any possible indiscretion that may appear on an individual programme.

I believe that we have heard from Senator Cant tonight a long tissue of expertise in innuendo and smear unsubstantiated by fact. 1 believe that the honorable senator has no facts to support a claim that duties have unjustly been allocated to staff of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. I have no information on the subject, but I have watched the administration of the Commission and I know something of its staff. I believe that Senator Cant has no facts to substantiate that suggestion. Mr. Brand, the Premier of Western Australia, made a statement drawing attention to the inappropriateness of presenting on Saturday night a television programme on the subject of capital punishment, when capital punishment was to be visited on the following Monday upon a victim who had been judged to be guilty of murder in Western Australia. Surely it would need no more than the discreet statement of Mr. Brand to be published for any reasonable officer or executive of the Australian Broadcasting Commission to be made cognisant of how revolting such an idea would be to the Australian public. To suggest that that is a basis for an inference of undue political interference is to me anything but reasonable. I think that credit is due to the A.B.C, if it ever had the intention of exhibiting that programme in those circumstances, for reconsidering its decision. I do not believe that anybody in this chamber has any facts to support a suggestion that the reconsideration of the programme was due to political pressure.

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