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Parliamentary scrutiny of the proposed ABC-Telstra content deal.

Parliamentary Scrutiny Of The Proposed ABC-Telstra Content Deal


Stephen Smith - Shadow Minister for Communications


Media Statement - 15 February 2000


I note that ABC Managing Director Brian Johns has joined Minister for Communications Senator Alston in accusing me of intruding upon the ABC's independence by having the temerity to make the unremarkable suggestion of further Parliamentary scrutiny of the proposed ABC-Telstra content deal.


"It is, of course, the case that whether or not the ABC ultimately enters into such an arrangement with Telstra is a matter for the ABC Board to determine.


"That, however, does not mean that either the proposal or any subsequent agreement, should not or can not be subject to detailed public and Parliamentary scrutiny. The simple fact that the national broadcaster is established by statute and is the beneficiary of taxpayers' funds compels such scrutiny.


"People will make their own judgements as to who is right or wrong in respect of this issue, but it is sometimes a helpful guide in making that judgement to look at the company one keeps.


Authorised by Gary Gray, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.