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Wednesday, 23 October 1974
Page: 1914

Senator MISSEN (Victoria) -I support the amendment which proposes the deletion of sub-clauses (2) and (3) of clause 1 1. This is a tremendously wide provision. Clause 11(1) provides that the Commission shall keep itself informed whether by the collection of statistics, the conduct of market research or otherwise, of all aspects of making, promoting, distributing and exhibiting films in Australia. Nothing could be wider than the whole area in relation to which the Commission is to keep statistics. This, of course, is very satisfactory. Sub-clause (2) entitles the Commission to obtain from any person any information- this could involve, of course, a complete attempt at obtaining the informationof a business, and that information may be of tremendous value to other competitors. This sub-clause requires that person to disclose the course of his activity, whether or not it is relevant to the purpose of the Australian Film Commission.

Senator Hallobviously recognises the width of this provision because he proposes to move an amendment but would not provide a satisfactory way of dealing with it. He proposes to add to the sub-clause the words 'being a matter relating to the distribution or exhibition of films'. I may say that naturally the information may relate to those things, but Senator Hall's proposed amendment will not cover the real difficulty of this clause which takes away all the rights of the individual to refuse to disclose matters which, whatever may be the purpose of the Commission, may be of extreme danger to an individual in his business activity. It is, I think, an infringement of a great number of rights enjoyed by the citizens of this community when they are forced to disclose 'any information'. I suppose they may even be forced to disclose information which may incriminate them or which may cause competitors to have an unfair advantage over them. It may be information which may allow the Commission in its own business undertakings -under this Bill it is entitled to carry on its own business undertakings- to steal a march and thereby gain benefits in an economic sense over that particular person. I suggest to the Committee that there is no purpose in having this provision.

If sub-clause (2) remains in the Bill, naturally it has to be followed by the requirements of subclause (3) which provides for the imposition of a penalty on any person who does not comply. This clause provides for further offences and further disabilities on the individual. I suggest that it is a great breach of the rights of individuals in the community. Its provisions are too wide and should be rejected.

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