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Wednesday, 28 October 1964

Senator MCCLELLAND (New South Wales) . - I wish to make one or two further comments which are related to Division No. 835 - Australian Broadcasting Control Board. The Minister, in his reply to me, referred to the employment of Australians on radio programmes. I point out to the Minister that the circular graph Which appears at page 20 of the report of the Broadcasting Control Board for the year ended 30th June 1964 shows that the amount of time allotted to radio dramatic programmes fell to 3.8 per cent, of the total in the last, financial year. The figure for the previous year was 5.3 per cent. I point out further that the Australian radio dramatic serials that were taken off the air were taken off in the second last week of the last financial year. The removal of these programmes will thus have a further dele;terious effect on the employment of Australians and the presentation of serial radio dramatic productions unless and until the Broadcasting Control Board takes effective remedial action.

It is interesting to observe from the report of the Board that, although television has been in existence in Australia now for eight or nine years, no time is set aside by commercial television stations for educational programmes. It is disappointing to know that such a state of affairs exists, particularly when we note that the Board continues to express its concern. 1 refer now to Division No. 838 - Australian Broadcasting Commission. Having read the report of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board and the report of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, it is refreshing to note the positive and objective approach which the Commission has made to the problems which confront the radio and television industries. It is obvious from the report of the Australian Commission that the Commission is recognised throughout the world as an important channel of communication. At page 8 of the Commission's report are set out the international activities in which the Commission is engaged in co-operation with other broadcasting services.

The Minister has already referred to the activities of Radio Australia. I agree with his statement that the service rendered by Radio Australia is of benefit to the countries of Asia, and to Australia. I should like to know what the Australian Broadcasting Commission is doing to expand its radio activities throughout Papua and New Guinea. In view of the proposal to give the Territory independence, this subject is of considerable importance. 1 should like to know what the A.B.C. is doing to train Papuans and New Guineans. I was very interested to read at page 15 of its report of the valuable contribution that the Commission is making to education through its broadcasting and television networks. I suggest that the Broadcasting Control Board would do well to look very closely at the report of the Australia Broadcasting Commission on this subject and see whether anything constructive can be done by commercial stations along the lines mentioned.

May 1 compliment the Commission upon ils presentation of children's programmes? When one compares the children's programmes that are presented by the A.B.C. over its broadcasting and television networks with those that are presented by commercial stations, one appreciates the value of the A.B.C. to the younger generation and to the nation as a whole. I compliment the Commission particularly on its programme entitled " Quiz Kids ", which is presented by Channel 2 in Sydney at approximately 6 p.m. on Sundays, lt is a very well pro duced programme and is informative not only for children but also for adults. If programmes of this kind were considered by commercial television stations, Australians would be better off for the time they spend sitting in front of the idiot box.

I note that expenditure under the Broadcasting and Television Act, for which provision is made in Division No. 838, is to be increased by approximately Hi million. Evidence was submitted to the Senate Select Committee on the Encouragement of Australian Productions for Television that the A.B.C. was spending approximately six times as much money on musical productions as on Australian dramatic productions. I am wondering whether this imbalance which existed approximately 12 months ago still exists or whether the situation has been corrected. I am pleased to note that during the last financial year the Australian Broadcasting Commission arranged more than 4,100 individual engagements for radio plays, features and serials. That is a substantial contribution to an industry which has been struggling for many years, which is still struggling and which will continue to struggle until other organisations adopt the attitude that has been adopted by the A.B.C.

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