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Democrats should accept ads ban is a black and white issue



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

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

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH 22 March, 1991

DEMOCRATS SHQTTTJ) ACCEPT ADS BAM IS A BTAfTK AMD WHITE ISSUE

The Democrats should not be misled into accepting any watered- down proposal from the Government over its total ban on political advertisements on the electronic media, according to the Shadow Minister for Administrative Services, Senator Warwick Parer.

"This is a black and white issue, and any restriction would jeopardise freedom of expression.

"Now that they have seen the extent of universal opposition to any blanket ban, the Democrats are apparently backing away from their initial support of the Government's plan.

But some of the suggested compromises would still allow the Government to achieve its objective of gagging its opponents.

For example, it has been proposed that some community interest groups should be permitted to express their views through radio and television.

"How are those groups to be defined and are political parties to be excluded?

"Does that mean that the thousands of volunteers who make up the Liberal and National Parties would be excluded as not being community interest groups?

"If so and if they are to be excluded under a backroom deal by Senator Powell and Labor, this is gross discrimination and tantamount to a step in the dangerous direction of banning the use of radio and television for political or social dissent.

Senator Parer said that both the Government and Senator Powell should read paragraphs 9.8 and 9.9 from the Joint Standing Committee report headed "A Complete Ban" which statest

"While some viewers may support a complete ban on political advertising it would have a direct effect on freedom of speech by reducing opportunities for discussion during election periods when voters are determining the candidate or party they wish to support.

M ED IA RELEASE

2 .

Most witnesses disagreed with a complete ban on political advertising, claiming that it would have an adverse effect on freedom of speech and in particular would disadvantage citizens and groups who wished to bring issues before the electorate. The beneficiaries of a complete ban would be the existing major parties."

"The Hawke Government has stated its views.

"It is hell bent on restricting freedom of expression and censoring opposing views and there is no room to compromise.

Senator Parer said that the Democrats would have to either support the Government or support the Liberal/ National Parties in preserving our freedoms.

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