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Tuesday, 29 October 1974
Page: 2020

Senator McLAREN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I direct my question to the Minister for the Media. Did the Minister, on a recent visit to the Northern Territory, say that he would like to see a program broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission to cater for the needs of the Australian Aborigines in the Northern Territory? Has the Minister discussed this matter with his colleague the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and with the Australian Broadcasting Commission? If so, will the Minister say what progress has been made to date in the provision of a program of this nature?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - It is true that recently, on a visit to the Northern Territory, I was asked what sort of programming I would like to see, if it were at all possible, for the Aboriginal section of the Australian community in the Northern Territory. I mentioned that I was having discussions with the Australian Broadcasting Commission on my visit there, as a result of representations which had been made to me by my colleague the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and his Department, towards obtaining some program outlet for Aboriginal people on the Australian Broadcasting Commission. I discussed the matter with regional officers of the ABC in the Northern Territory and, subsequently, with the then Acting General Manager of the Commission, Dr Semmler, and, since his return to Australia, with the General Manager of the ABC, Mr Duckmanton. I am now given to understand that the Australian Broadcasting Commission is proposing to arrange for some sort of a program on radio in the Northern Territory for the Aboriginal community. There is a problem of quite some magnitude because I am given to understand that there are about 138 different Aboriginal dialects throughout the Northern Territory. But, in short, the ABC is holding discussions with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs on the matter. I understand that a suitable arrangement is likely to be made in the near future.

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