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ABC petition - 63,559 hot potatoes

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P A R L I A M E N T OF A U S T R A L I A ยท T H E S E N A T E

SENATOR VICKI BOURNE Senator for New South Wales

24 September, 1997 Australian Democrats Whip



Six months after its delivery to the Prime Minister a petition from 63,559 citizens protesting at funding cuts to the ABC will finally be tabled in the Federal Parliament today.

The petition was delivered to the Prime Minister’s Sydney Office on 27 March 1997 by ABC personalities Roy Slaven and HG Nelson.

But in a surprising twist the petition will be tabled in the Senate by Democrat Senator Vicki Bourne even though it was delivered to the Prime Minister and addressed to the House of Representatives.

Commenting on the complicated saga of the petition Senator Vicki Bourne, Media and Broadcasting Spokesperson for the Democrats, said: “Almost three months after delivery the petition had still not been tabled, so on 17 June I placed on notice a question to Senator Robert Hill, the Prime Minister’s representative in the Senate asking when the Prime Minister would present the petition to the Parliament.

“On 25 August Senator Hill replied that the petition would be tabled in the next session of Parliament. Despite this on 1 September the Minister for Communications wrote to me saying the petition ‘was not in the required format for tabling’.

“I wrote to the Minister suggesting the petition be given to him or to myself for tabling in the Senate by leave. Yesterday I received a reply from him agreeing to this request and the documents were delivered to my office.

“It seems approximately three-quarters of the documents comply with the required format for petitions to be tabled in the House of Representatives. I am surprised this was not noticed by either the Prime Minister and/or his staff, or the Minister for Communications and/or his staff.

“I am pleased these 63,559 signatures have finally been presented to the Parliament.

“If these are added to the more than 101,000 signatures already tabled, and the approximately 17,000 letters written to the Government, and the 10,615 submissions to the Mansfield Enquiry by any measure that’s a lot of votes.

“I live in hope that the Government is listening.”

Contact Senator Bourne: 02 6277 3820 (w) or 02 6297 3830 (h)

Commonwealth Parliament Offices, 70 Phillip Street, Sydney NSW Postal Address: GPO Box 36, Sydney NSW 2001 Telephone (02) 9247 3377 Facsimile (02) 9247 9681 Toll free 1800 651 921