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Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Restoring Shortwave Radio) Bill 2017

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2016-2017

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION AMENDMENT (RESTORING SHORTWAVE RADIO) BILL 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Senator Xenophon)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING AMENDMENT (RESTORING SHORTWAVE RADIO) BILL 2017

 

 

OUTLINE

 

The purpose of this Bill is to require the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to restore its shortwave transmission services, following an announcement by the ABC in December 2016 that it would end its shortwave transmission service in the Northern Territory and to international audiences from 31 January 2017.

 

The ABC’s shortwave transmission service is the only option for many people who live, work and travel through rural and remote areas, including in the Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland. It is a vital service for emergency broadcasts, news and weather. Shortwave transmissions are reliable, long-range and are not interrupted by adverse weather conditions unlike FM radio.

 

Shortwave radio also played a valuable role in providing information to communities during the civil disturbance that occurred in East Timor in the lead up to independence.

 

The Bill will require the ABC to maintain its domestic shortwave transmission services so that people in rural and remote areas, including in the Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland, have access to a reliable radio service.

 

The Bill will also require the ABC to maintain an international shortwave transmission service for Papua New Guinea and parts of the Pacific so that people living in areas such as the Solomon Islands have access to reliable emergency broadcasting.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1: Short title

 

1.         This clause is a formal provision and specifies that the short title of Bill, once enacted, may be cited as the Australian Broadcasting Amendment (Restoring Shortwave Radio) Act 2017 .

 

Clause 2: Commencement

 

2.         This clause provides for the commencement of the entire Act to be the day after this Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3 - Schedules

 

3.         Each Act specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as is set out in the applicable items in the Schedule. Any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.

 

 

 

 

Schedule 1 - Amendments

 

Australian Broadcasting Act 1983

 

Item 1 - After section 27

 

4.         This item inserts a new section 27A into the Australian Broadcasting Act 1983 .

 

5.         Subsection (1) of new section 27A states that the Corporation must maintain three domestic shortwave transmission services providing wide area coverage across the Northern Territory which will broadcast the proximate local radio service. The Corporation will be required to maintain at least three domestic shortwave transmission services which were operating up until the cessation of the domestic shortwave transmission on 31 January 2017.

 

6.         Subsection (2) of new section 27A states that the Corporation must maintain an international shortwave transmission service for Papua New Guinea and parts of the Pacific which will use at least three transmitters and broadcast the Corporation’s international service. This subsection also requires the Corporation to broadcast in the relevant language that it is broadcasting to. This clause ensures that people in those regions have access to important news, weather and emergency information.



 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

Australian Broadcasting Amendment (Restoring Shortwave Radio) Bill 2017

 

This Bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

 

Overview of the Bill

 

The purpose of this Bill is to require the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to restore its shortwave transmission services, following an announcement by the ABC in December 2016 that it would end its shortwave transmission service in the Northern Territory and to international audiences from 31 January 2017.

 

The Bill will require the ABC to maintain its domestic shortwave transmission services so that people in rural and remote areas, including in the Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland, have access to a reliable radio service.

 

The Bill will also require the ABC to maintain an international shortwave transmission service for Papua New Guinea and parts of the Pacific so that people living in areas such as the Solomon Islands have access to reliable emergency broadcasting.

 

Human rights implications

 

This Bill does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms as it deals with restoration of shortwave radio transmission services.

 

Conclusion

 

This Bill is compatible with human rights as it does not raise any human rights issues.

 

 

 

Senator Xenophon