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Thursday, 29 November 1973
Page: 2267

Senator GREENWOOD (VICTORIA) -Will the Minister for the Media ascertain why the Australian

Broadcasting Commission news this morning gave only the Government and Mr Whitlam 's side of the current controversy over the States Grants (Schools) Bill 1973. Will the Minister ascertain why the many statements made yesterday and last night by Mr Snedden and Senator Rae, who are the Opposition spokesmen on education, were ignored in the information which the news program gave about this current affair. Will the Minister also indicate to the ABC Commissioners that the ABC charter of freedom and independence requires that it display balance and objectivity in its news reports?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I assume from the question directed to me that Senator Greenwood is implying that political prejudice exists within the Australian Broadcasting Commission. If he implies that, I emphatically deny it. The Australian Broadcasting Commission under this Government has been told that it has complete political and programming independence. This Government has insisted that it carry out its political and programming independence. If the honourable senator looked at a record which has been supplied to the Leader of the Opposition by the General Manager of the ABC as to the number of times that members of all political parties have appeared on ABC programs, he will see that members of the Opposition are being more than fairly treated.

Senator GREENWOOD - I seek leave to ask another question in view of the fact that the question I asked has not been answered.

The PRESIDENT - The basis for supplementary questions is to elucidate answers. In the circumstances I will allow you to ask a supplementary question.

Senator GREENWOOD - I again ask the Minister for the Media: Will he ascertain why the ABC news service this morning gave only one side of the issue to which I referred in my original question- the current controversy on the States Grants (Schools) Bill? Will he report to the Senate the result of his inquiry?

Senator McCLELLAND -The answer to the honourable senator's question is yes.

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