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Wednesday, 23 October 1974
Page: 1897


Senator GREENWOOD (Victoria) - I found the explanation of the Minister for the Media (Senator Douglas McClelland) not very convincing as to why this power ought to be provided. I acknowledged, and he reiterated, that it was in the Australian Film Development Corporation Act 1970. But, of course, there is a distinction between the purposes of that Act and this Bill. If that distinction is not good enough, I remind the Minister that the Government of 1970 to 1972 was sent into Opposition to learn the error of its ways in regard to things which it did when in government. We are learning to look closely at those matters which we think will reassert the role of the private sector of this community. This Bill does raise in one way the issue of free enterprise against government control by socialism. I repeat: I am sorry that Senator Hall has put himself with the socialists on this issue, because I do not accept that if one writes into legislation a power which gives ministerial control over the activities of a commission one is helping private enterprise. How Senator Hall can argue that way is beyond my comprehension. We will have either a Commission which will be able to operate as it wishes in the way that statutory corporations have always done- I think that is the purpose of this legislation- or we will have ministerial control exercised through a commission, which is a subterfuge. We have challenged the Government- we challenge it again- to make up its mind. What does it want? If it wants a commission, let it operate autonomously. If it wants to have ministerial control let it be done through a department in which the Minister is answerable day by day in the Parliament. Let us not have a situation in which the Commission is subject to day to day ministerial control. That is what the Minister is asking for. That is what Senator Hall is supporting. The Liberal Party does not accept it.







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