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18 March, 1991

SENATOR W A R W IC K RARER LIBERAL SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND

SHADOW MINISTER FOR ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND THE A.C.T.

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Any moves to ban political advertising on television and radio in Australia would be the greatest attack on freedom of speech seen in this country, Shadow Minister for Administrative Services, Senator Warwick Parer said today.

Senator Parer said this move would be opposed not only by the Coalition but by every Australian who valued the freedom of expression we have enjoyed for so long.

He said censorship was anathema to Australians and he called on the Democrats to reject this muzzling of the political process.

"If the Democrats support the Government on this issue, they would be party to the sort of suppression of ideas which were a feature of totalitarian regimes.

Senator Parer said that under the proposal everyone, whether they be political parties, concerned citizens, or interest groups would be prosecuted if they used television or radio to promote contrary political view to the government of the day.

"The government of the day however, would be free and would continue to promote Itself under the guise of 'informing the public' through government department advertising.

"The Labor Party says their proposal would bring us into line with countries overseas, but countries which we might best be compared with, for example the United States, New Zealand and Canada see political advertising as essential in political

communication.

"When politicians or political parties claim that a

restriction on freedom of expression, in whatever form, is somehow in the national interest, it is time to worry."

Before this matter gets out of hand it is timely to recall Jefferson's immortal words O u r liberty depends on the Freedom of the Press and that cannot be limited without being lost'".

For further information telephone (07) 225 2413

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