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Democrat amendments to ABC bill



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PRESS RELEASE

DEMOCRAT AMENDMENTS TO ABC BILL

Australian Democrat spokesperson on communications,

Senator John Siddons, today released a package of amendments

the Democrats will propose to the ABC Bill.

Senator Siddons said the amendments: -* proposed a new machanism for appointing members of the

Corporation's Borad. Three members would be appointed

by each House of Parliament, with the concurrence of

the other; one by the Governor-General; one by the

officers and employees of the Corporation and the

Managing Director would be appointed by the Corporation;

* heavily amend the draconian.Part VIII of the Bill and

replaces the Government1s proposed omnipotent Complaints

Commission along generally similar lines to that which

operates in Britain;

* require the appointment of Community Affairs Officers

in each State, as recommended by the Dix report.

Senator Siddons reiterated the Democrats' total opposition

to Part VIII of the Bill and said there was no. way this part

of the legislation would pass the Senate.

An explanatory memorandum and a copy of the amendments are

attached.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

Senator John Siddons: (062) 72 7151

Nigel Brand (062) 72 7151

82/138 CANBERRA 19th October 1982.

THE SENATE

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM FOR AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRAT AMENDMENTS TO THE AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION BILL 1982

(1), (2) and (3) Insert three definitions required by

substantive amendments.

(1) and (3) require that a program be actually broadcast

before it can be subject to complaint.

(4) Alters the membership of the Board of Directors of the

new Corporation. The method of appointment is

substantially altered. Under new 12(1) the board would

consist of a Managing Director and eight non-executive

Directors. Three would be appointed by each House of

Parliament, with the concurrence of the other. One

would be appointed by the Governor-General directly

and one elected by the staff of. the A.B.C. The

Governor-General would appoint the Chairman and Deputy

Chairman of the Board.

12.(2) to (5) Are standard provisions, outlining the

term of office (five years, with an

Option for re-appointment) and some

routine matters. They also set down

certain criteria for selection of Board

members. These are identical to those

in the original Bill. .

(5) Is a consequential amendment requiring the

Governor-General to notify the appropriate House of

Parliament if a Board vacancy occurs.

(6) Is a standard clause to cover the termination of an

appointment to the Board.

(7) Is a consequential amendment which requires the

Governor-General to inform the relevant House of

Parliament if a Director's appointment has to be

terminated for . the usual reasons, eg, bankruptcy,

absence without leave, etc.

2 .

(8) Allows the Governor-General to temporarily appoint a

person to be the non-executive Director if a

non-executive Director is, or is expected to be,

absent from duty or unable to perform their duty. Such

appointments are valid for not more than six months.

(9) Is a consequential amendment which requires the

Governor-General to inform the relevant House of

Parliament if he is appointing a temporary

non-executive Director to fill in for a Director who

was appointed by a House.

(10) Deletes the definitions of "Commissioner for

Complaints" and "Complaint" and re-defines

"Commission" to mean the Broadcasting Complaints

Commission, in terms. very similar to those of. the

British legislation. It also defines membership of the

commission. In reading the amendments relating to the

Broadcasting Complaints Commission, recognise that

references to commissioners, etc, refer to the B.C.C.

and NOT the (old) ABC.

Clause 8 also defines "participant", "person

affected", "relevant program" and "unjust or unfair

treatment" for the purposes of this Part.

(11) Is a consequential amendment which changes the title

of the complaints mechanism from the Commissioner for

Complaints to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission. .

(12) Is a major section. It deletes the Bill's Section 80

which establishes the office of a Commissioner of

Complaints, and replaces this with the Broadcasting

Complaints Commission, which is . modelled on the

British system.

The new 80(1) establishes the Commission which is to

have not less than three members appointed by the

Governor-General.

I

3 .

Under 80(2) appointments, to the Commission do not have

effect until approved by resolution of both Houses of

Parliament.

Sub-section 80(3) members of the Commission hold

office on a part-time basis for a term of not more,

than five years, with eligibility for re-appointment.

Sub-section 80(4) disqualifies from being appointed to

the Commission a Director, officer or employee of the

Corporation and anyone with an interest in the

preparation or provision of programs for broadcast by

the Corporation..

Sub-section 80(5) gives the Governor-General the power

to appoint the Chairman of the Commission, and if

necessary, a Deputy Chairman.

Section 80A provides that members of the Commission

will be paid as determined by the Remuneration

Triburnal and Regulations made pursuant to the

Remuneration Tribunal Act.

Section 80B allows the Minister to grant leave of

absence for members of the Commission.

Section 80C provides an exit for members of the

Commission who wish to resign.

Section SOD requires members of the Commission who

have a pecuniary interest in a matter which is the

subject of a complaint made or referred to the

Commission to . disclose the nature of their interest

and requires that they, not be present during any

deliberation of the Commission which considers that

matter.

Section 80E contains a standard provision for the

termination of appointment of members of the

Commission and requires the Governor-General to notify

each House of Parliament of such terminations.

4 .

Section 80F provides for an Acting Chairman to be

appointed if necessary. .

Section 80G permits the Governor-General to appoint

acting members of the. Commission and defines their

powers and responsibilities. Under 80G(5) an acting

member may not be the Chairman of the Commission.

Section 80H describes under what circumstances, where

and when meetings of the Commission may be held, the

size of the quorum and gives the presiding member of

the Commission deliberative and a casting vote.

(11) Deletes Sections 81 and 82 from the Bill which

respectively relate to Complaints and Investigations

and replaces them with new clauses relevant to the BCC.

New Section 81 allows the BCC to consider and

adjudicate on complaints of unjust or unfair treatment

in sound or television broadcasting actually broadcast

by the corporation after the commencement of this

section, or unwarranted infringement of privacy in or

in connection with the obtaining of material included

in sound or TV programs actually broadcast by the

Corporation, and forbids the Commission to entertain

complaints not falling within sub-section (1).

Section 81a describes how complaints can be made and

requires them to be in writing and to identify the

complainant. The complaint may be made by an

individual or group whether incorporated or not, but

shall not be considered unless it is made by the

person affected or authorised by the person affected.

Sub-section (3) provides for a situation in which the

complainant may have died.

Sub-section (4) provides for the Managing Director of

the Corporation to. pass complaints received on to the

Commission. The amendment will allow the Corporation

to deal with complaints first, even the comparatively

restricted range of complaints within the ambit of the

BCC.

Sub-section (5) allows the Managing Director to not

transmit ' a complaint to the Commission if he is not

satisfied as to the complaint's bonafides.

Sub-section (6) gives the complainant a right of

appeal to.the Commission.

Sub-section (7) requires any officer, temporary

employee or director of the Corporation to transmit a

complaint to the Managing Director.

■ . . 5 . . ' . ■ .

Section 82 defines which complaints can and cannot be

considered by the Commission. Complaints cannot be

heard if:

(a) the person affected died more than five years

earlier; . ,

(b) if the incident is the subject of proceedings in

a court;

(c) if the incident is a matter in respectof which

the complainant could seek a remedy through the

courts and the Commission considers a complaint

is not appropriate for it to consider; or

(d) if the complaint is frivolous or vexatious, or

was not made in good faith.

6 .

Sub-section (2) allows the Commission to refuse to

entertain a complaint if in the opinion of the

Commission the complaint has not been made within a

reasonable time after the last occasion on which the

relevant program was broadcast by the Corporation.

Sub-section (3) allows sub-section (2) to operate

within five years of the death of the person affected.

Sub-section (4) allows the Commission to refuse to

entertain ■ a complaint if the person named as the

person affected was not themselves the subject of the

treatment and did not have a sufficiently direct

interest in the subject matter of the complaint to

justify the making of a complaint with him as the

person affected; or if in the opinion of the

Commission the relationship between. the person

affected and the complainant is not sufficiently close

to justify the making of a complaint.

Sub-section (5) allows the Commission to refuse to

entertain a complaint:

(a) until it has been made to the Corporation;

(b) the complainant believes no redress, or

insufficient redress has been granted.

Sub-section (6) is consequential on other amendments.

Sub-section (7) requires the Commission to inform the

complainant and other such persons as may be relevant

of the Commission's decision for refusing to entertain

a complaint and the reasons for that refusal.

Sub-section (8) allows the commission to not so inform

each complainant if there are a large number of

complaints about a particular incident, if it believes

it would be unduly burdensome to do so.

7 .

Section 82Δ(1) requires that if a complaint is

referred to the Commission directly by the Ombudsman

or CAO, the Commission shall send a copy to the

Managing Director. This amendment will be re-drafted

along the lines indicated above. .

Sub-section (2) allows the Commission to determine

complaints with or without a. hearing.

Sub-section (3) describes those persons who shall be

eligible to be heard at such a hearing, which, is to be

held in private.

Sub-sections (4), (5), (6) and (7) require the

Managing Director to co-operate with the Commission,

if so required.

Sub-section (8) allows the Commission to remunerate

people who attend hearings and suffer loss as a result.

(14) Clause 12 of our amendments suggest Clauses 83 to 85

of the Bill be opposed outright. These deal with,

respectively, the Power of the Commissioner for

Complaints to obtain information and documents; his

Power to examine witnesses; and his power to enter

premises.

These clauses of . the original Bill were evidently

copied from the Ombudsman Act. It should be borne in

mind that nothing in the Bill, or these amendments,

would prevent a person dissatisfied with their

treatment by the Corporation and/or the Commission

from approaching the Ombudsman, who has these

extensive powers to subpoena witnesses and evidence,

and to gain entry to premises.

(15) Is consequential to the other changes to Part VIII and

makes routine provisions for the publication of

Reports.

8 .

(16) Deletes Division 3 .- Administrative Provisions from

Part VIII as a consequence of the insertion of clauses

80 to 82A.

(17) Gives the Commission the power of a permanent Head of

the Public Service and ' is consequential on other

changes to the Bill. .

(18) Another consequential amendment, this is a routine

delegation clause and is identical to the one in the

Bill. . .

(19) This consequential amendment merely swaps Commission

for Commissioner in a clause which swears officers of

the Commission to secrecy.

(20) Clause 100 of the . Bill to be opposed, this clause

. creates a series of new offences, similar to those in

the Ombudsman Act.

(21) Amends Section 101, Protection from Civil Proceedings,

and is consequential on earlier amendments.

(22) This amendment swaps the word Commission for

Commissioner in a clause which requires the Commission

to publish an annual report.

(23) Requires the Commission in its annual report to

publish a summary of each complaint considered, the

action taken on each complaint and, where the

Commission has adjudicated, a summary of the

Commission's findings.

Under sub-section (3) the Commission may omit the

identity of any person connected with a . complaint

other than someone associated with the Corporation or

a person responsible for the making or provision of a

program which has been the subject of the complaint.

9 .

(24) Requires the Corporation, to appoint a Community

Affairs Officer in each State of the Commonwealth

whose duty it shall be to receive questions and

complaints from the public and outlines his responsib­

ilities. This clause needs to be redrafted in

accordance with earlier comments to give the ABC

"first bite at the cherry" of a complaint. We believe

the Corporation ought to be given the chance to remedy

a complaint before it goes to the Commission.

(25) Is consequential upon earlier amendments relating to

the method of appointment of non-Executive Directors

to the Board of the Corporation.

1982

THE SENATE

AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION BILL 1982

(Amendments to be moved in Committee of the Whole

by the Australian Democrats)

Page 2, line 22, definition of "broadcasting program",

leave out "intended for oral reception by", insert

"actually broadcast to".

Page 3, clause 3, definition of "Promotions Appeal Board",

lines 24 and 25, after the definition, insert the following

new definition:

"'relevant House of Parliament' means the House of

Parliament which appoints a Director under paragraph

12(1)(b) or (c);". ,

Page 3, lines 33 and 34, definition of "television

program", leave out "intended for reception by", insert

"actually broadcast to".

Pages 8 and 9, clause 12, line 24 (page 8) to line 3 (page

9), leave out the clause, insert the following new clause:

2

"12.(1) The Board shall consist of - .

(a) the Managing Director; .

(b) 3 Directors appointed by the Senate, with the

concurrence of the House of Representatives;

(c) 3 Directors appointed by the House of

Representatives, with the concurrence of the

Senate;

(d) 1 Director appointed by the Governor-General; and

(e) 1 Director elected by officers and employees of

the Corporation.

"(2) A non-executive Director holds office, subject to

sections 16 and 18, on a part-time basis, for such

period, not exceeding 5 years, as is specified in the

instrument of his appointment or election, but is

eligible for re-appointment or re-election.

"(3) The Governor-General shall appoint one of the

non-executive Directors to be the Chairman of the Board

and another of the non-executive Directors to be the

Deputy Chairman of the Board.

"(4) The performance of the functions or the exercise of

the powers of the Board is not affected by a vacancy in

the office of the Managing Director, by reason that there

is no Chairman or Deputy Chairman, or by reason of the

number of non-executive Directors falling below 6 for not

longer than 6 months.

"(5) A person, shall not be appointed as a non-executive

Director unless he appears -

3

(a) in relation to appointments made under paragraph

12(1) (b) or (c) - to the relevant House of

Parliament; or

(b) in relation to appointments made under paragraph

12(1)(d) - to the Governor-General,

to be suitable for appointment by reason of his having

had experience in connection with the provision of

broadcasting or television services or in communication

or management, by reason of his having expertise in

financial or technical matters, or by reason of his

having cultural or other interests relevant to the

oversight of a public organization engaged in the

provision of broadcast and television services.".

(5) Page 9, clause 16, line 34, after "Governor-General", add

the following words:

"who, if the appointment was made under paragraph

12(1)(b) or (c), shall notify, as soon as practicable,

the relevant House of Parliament that a vacancy has

occurred".

(6) Page 10, clause 18, sub-clause (1), lines 22 and 23, leave

out the sub-clause, insert the following new sub-clauses:

"(1) The Senate may, with the concurrence of the House

of Representatives, terminate the appointment of a

non-executive Director, made under paragraph 12(1) (b),

for misbehaviour or physical or mental incapacity.

"(1A) The House of Representatives may, with the

concurrence of the Senate, terminate the appointment of a

non-executive Director, made under paragraph 12(1) (c),

for misbehaviour or physical or mental incapacity.

4

" (IB) The Governor-General may terminate the appointment

of a non-executive Director, made under paragraph

12(1)(d) or (e), for misbehaviour or physical or mental

incapacity.".

(7) Page 10, sub-clause (2), line 39, after "concerned", add

the following words:

"and, if the appointment was made under paragraph

12(1)(b) or (c), shall notify, as soon as practicable,

the relevant House of Parliament". '

(8) Page 12, clause 21, sub-clause (1), lines 39 to 42, after

the sub-clause, insert the following new sub-clause:

" (1A) The Governor-General may appoint a person to act

in the position of non-executive Director during a

vacancy in the office of non-executive Director, until

such vacancy is filled in accordance with the provisions

of paragraph 12(1)(b), (c) or (e):

Provided that the person so appointed shall not

continue to act in the position for a period longer

. than 6 months from the day on which the vacancy

occurred.".

(9) Page 13, clause 21, sub-clause (2), paragraph (b), line 5,

at end of paragraph, add the following words:

", and, if an appointment is made of a person to act

during a vacancy in the office of non-executive Director

while an appointment is being determined under paragraph

12(1)(b) or (c), shall notify, as soon as practicable,

the relevant House of Parliament of such termination".

5

(10) Page 54, clause 79, definitions of "Commissioner" and

"complaint", lines 27 to 40, leave out the definitions,

insert the following new definitions:

" 'Chairman' means Chairman of the Commission;

" 'Commission' means the Broadcasting Complaints

Commission established under this Part;

" 'Deputy Chairman' means Deputy Chairman of the

Commission; ·

" 'member' means member of the Commission;

" 'participant' means -

(a) in the case of a sound program - a person whose

voice was heard in the program;

(b) in the case of a television program - a person who

appeared, or whose voice was heard, in the

program;

" 'person affected' -

(a) in relation to any such unjust or unfair treatment

as is specified in paragraph 81(1) (a) - means a

participant in the program in question who was the

subject of that treatment or a person who, whether

such a participant or not, had a direct interest

in the subject-matter of that treatment;

(b) in relation to any such unwarranted infringement

of privacy as is specified in paragraph 81(1) (b) -

means a person whose privacy was infringed;

6

" 1 relevant program1, in relation to a complaint, means

the program in which the alleged unjust or unfair

treatment occurred or in which, or in connection with the

obtaining of material included in which, the alleged

unwarranted infringement of privacy occurred;

" 1 unjust or unfair treatment' includes treatment which

is unjust or unfair because of the way in which material

included in a program has been selected or arranged.".

(11) Page 55, Division 2, lines 1 and 2, leave out '"Commissioner

for Complaints",, insert "Broadcasting Complaints

Commission".

(12) Page 55, Clause 80, lines 3 to 8, leave out the clause,

insert the following new clauses:

"Broadcasting Complaints Commission

"80. (1) For the purposes of this Act, there shall be a

Broadcasting Complaints Commission consisting of not less

than 3 members appointed by the Governor-General.

"(2) Appointments made under sub-section (1) shall not

have effect until approved by resolution of each House of

Parliament.

"(3) Subject to sub-section (4), and sections 80C and

80E, a member of the Commission holds office on a

part-time basis for such period, not exceeding 5 years,

as is specified in the instrument of his appointment, but

is eligible for re-appointment.

"(4) A person shall be disqualified from being

appointed, or being, a member of the Commission if he

is -

i-

(a) a Director, officer or employee of the

Corporation; or

(b) a person, other than a person referred to in

paragraph (a), who is concerned with, or who has

an interest in, the preparation or provision of

programs for broadcasting by the Corporation.

"(5) The Governor-General shall appoint one of the

members of the Commission to be the Chairman of the

Commission, and may appoint another member of the

Commission to be the Deputy Chairman of the Commission.

"(6) The performance of the functions or the exercise of

the powers of the Commission is not affected by reason

that there is no Chairman or Deputy Chairman or by reason

of the number of Commissioners falling below 2 for not

longer than 6 months.

"Remuneration and allowances

"80A. (1) The members of the Commission shall be paid

such remuneration as is determined by the Remuneration

Tribunal.

"(2) Subject to the Remuneration Tribunals Act 1973, the

members of the Commission shall be paid such allowances

as are prescribed by the Regulations.

"Leave of absence

7.

"80B. (1) The Minister may grant leave to the Chairman to

be absent from a meeting of the Commission upon such

conditions as to remuneration or otherwise as the

Minister thinks fit.

8

"(2) The Chairman may grant leave to any other member of

the Commission to be absent from a meeting of the

Commission upon such conditions as to remuneration or

otherwise as the Chairman thinks fit.

"(3) References in sub-sections (1) and (2) to the

Chairman shall, if a member of the Commission is acting

as Chairman, be construed as references to the member so

acting.

"Resignation of members of the Commission ' "

"80C. A member of the Commission may resign his office

by writing signed by him delivered to the

Governor-General.

"Disclosure of interests

"80D. (1) A member of the Commission who has a direct or

indirect pecuniary interest in a matter which is the

subject of a complaint made or referred to, being

considered by, or about to be considered by, the

Commission shall, as soon as possible after the relevant

facts have come to his knowledge, disclose the nature of

his interest at a meeting of the Commission.

"(2) A disclosure under sub-section (1) shall be recorded

in the minutes of the meeting of the Commission and the

member of the Commission shall not -

(a) be present during any deliberation of the

Commission with respect to that matter; or

(b) take part in any decision of the Commission with

respect to that matter.

9

"(3) References in sub-sections (1) and (2) to a member

of the Commission shall, if a person is acting as a

member of the Commission, be construed as including a

reference to the person so acting.

"Termination of appointment

"80E. (1) The Governor-General may terminate the

appointment of a member of the Commission for

misbehaviour or physical or mental incapacity, and shall

notify, as soon as practicable, each House of Parliament

of such termination.

"(2) If -

(a) a member of the Commission -

(i) becomes bankrupt, applies to take the benefit

of any law for the relief of bankrupt or

insolvent debtors, compounds with his creditors

or makes an assignment of his remuneration for

their benefit; or

v±i) fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply

with his obligations under section SOD;

(b) the Chairman, or a member of the Commission acting

as Chairman, is absent, except with the leave of

the Minister, from 3 consecutive meetings of the

Commission; or

(c) a member of the Commission (other than the

Chairman or a member acting as Chairman) is absent

except with the leave of the Chairman or, if a

member is acting as Chairman, with the leave of

the member so acting, from 3 consecutive meetings

of the Commission,

10

the Governor-General shall terminate the appointment of

the member concerned, and shall notify, as soon as

practicable, each House of Parliament of such

termination.

"Acting Chairman

"80F. (1) Where there is no Chairman or the Chairman is

absent from duty or from Australia or is, for any other

reason, unable to perform the functions of Chairman -

(a) the Deputy Chairman shall act as Chairman; or

(b) if there is no Deputy Chairman, or the Deputy

Chairman is absent from duty or from Australia, or

is, for any other reason, unable to act as

Chairman,the Governor-General may appoint a member

of the Commission to act as Chairman, but any such

appointment ceases to have effect if, where the

Deputy Chairman is absent from duty or from

Australia or is for any other reason unable to act

as Chairman, the Deputy Chairman ceases to be so

absent or becomes able to act as Chairman.

"(2) The appointment of a person under paragraph 1(b)

ceases to have effect if he resigns his appointment by

writing signed by him delivered to the Governor-General.

"(3) While a member of the Commission is acting as

Chairman, he has and may exercise all the powers, and

shall perform all the functions and duties, of the

Chairman under this Act.

"(4) The validity of anything done by or in relation to a

person purporting to act under sub-section (1) shall not

be called in question on the ground that the occasion for

11

his appointment had not arisen, that there was a defect

or irregularity in or in connection with his appointment*

that the appointment had ceased to have effect or that

the occasion for him to act had not arisen or had ceased.

"Acting member of Commission

"80G. (1) If a member of the Commission is, or is

expected to be, absent from duty or from Australia, or,

for any other reason, unable to perform the functions of

his office, the Governor-General may appoint a person to

act as a member of the Commission during the period of

the absence or inability.

"(2) The Governor-General may appoint a person to act in

the position of member of the Commission during a vacancy

in the office of a member of the Commission, until such

vacancy is filled in accordance with the provisions of

section 80:

Provided that the person so appointed shall not

continue to act in the position for a period longer

than 6 months from the day on which the vacancy

occurred.

"(3) The Governor-General may -

(a) determine the terms and conditions of appointment,

excluding remuneration and allowances, of a person

acting as a member of the Commission; and

(b) terminate such an appointment at any time, and, if

an appointment is made of a person to act during a

vacancy in the office of a member of the

Commission while an appointment is being

12

determined under section 80, shall notify, as soon

as practicable, each House of Parliament of such

termination.

"(4) The appointment of a person to act as a member of

the Commission ceases to have effect if he resigns his

appointment by writing signed by him delivered to the

Governor-General.

"(5) While a person is acting as a member of the

Commission, he has and may exercise all the 'powers, and

shall perform all the functions and duties, of a member

of the Commission under this Act, except that he may not

be appointed to act as Chairman of the Commission.

"(6) The validity of anything done by or in relation to a

person purporting to act under sub-section (1) shall not

be called in question on the ground that the occasion for

his appointment had not arisen, that there was a defect

or irregularity in or in connection with his appointment

or that the appointment ceased to have effect.

"Meetings of the Commission

"80H. (1) The Chairman -

(a) shall convene such meetings of the Commission as

he considers necessary for the efficient

performance of its functions; and

(b) shall convene a meeting of the Commission on

receipt of a written request signed by the 2 other

members of the Commission.

"(2) Meetings of the Commission shall be held at such

places as the Chairman determines.

13

"(3) The Chairman shall preside at all meetings of the

Commission at which he is present.

"(4) In the absence of the Chairman from a meeting of the

Commission, if there is a Deputy Chairman, the Deputy

Chairman shall preside at the meeting.

"(5) In the absence of both the Chairman and the Deputy

Chairman, if there is a Deputy Chairman, from a meeting

of the Commission a member of the Commission shall

preside at the meeting. 1

"(6) The member presiding at a meeting of the Commission

may give directions on the procedure to be followed at or

in connection with the meeting.

"(7) At a meeting of the Commission -

(a) a quorum is constituted by 2 members of the

Commission;

(b) all questions shall be decided by a majority of

the votes of the members of the Commission

present; and

(c) the member of the Commission presiding has a

deliberative vote, and, in the event of any

equality of votes, also has a casting vote.".

(13) Pages 55 and 56, clauses 81 and 82, line 9 (page 55) to

line 40 (page 56), leave out the clauses, insert the

following new clauses:

"Function of Commission

"81. (1) Subject to section 82, the function of the

Commission shall be to consider and adjudicate upon

complaints of -

14

(a) unjust or unfair treatment in sound or television

broadcasting actually broadcast by the Corporation

after the commencement of this section; or

(b) unwarranted infringement of privacy in, or in

connection with the obtaining of material included

in, sound or television programs actually so

broadcast by the Corporation.

"(2) The Commission shall not entertain complaints not

falling within sub-section (1). '

"Making of complaints

"81A. (1) Complaints shall be made in writing, and shall

identify the person making the complaint.

"(2) The complaint may be made by an individual, or by a

body of persons, whether incorporated or not, but,

subject to sub-section (3), shall not be entertained by

the Commission unless made by the person affected or by

the person authorized by him to make the complaint.

"(3) Where the person affected is an individual who has

died or is for any other reason both unable to make a

complaint himself and unable to authorize another person

to do so for him, a complaint may be made by the personal

representative of the person affected, or by a member of

his family, or by some other person or body closely

connected with him, or as a body of which he is or was at

his death a member, or in any other way.

"(4) If a person makes a written complaint to the

Corporation with respect to a broadcasting or television

program of the Corporation, the Managing Director may, if

he has reasonable grounds to believe that it is a

15

complaint made under section 81(1), cause the complaint

to be referred to the Commission and shall notify the

complainant accordingly.

"(5) if the Managing Director is of the opinion that a

person making a complaint under section 81(1) is not the

person affected or a person authorized by him to make the

complaint, he shall not transmit the complaint to the

Commission and shall notify the complainant accordingly.

"(6) Where the Managing Director makes a decision of the

kind referred to iri section (5), and gives the

complainant notice in writing of the decision, that

notice shall include a statement to the effect that the

complainant may, if he is dissatisfied with the decision,

transmit his complaint, and the Managing Director's

decision, to the Commission.

"(7) For the purposes of this section, a complaint made

to a Director or an officer or temporary employee of the

Corporation, other than a Community Affairs Officer

appointed under section 106A, shall be taken to be made

to the Corporation, and, if a written complaint is made

to a Director other than a Managing Director or to an

officer or temporary employee of the Corporation, that

Director, officer or temporary employee shall forthwith

send the complaint to the Managing Director.

Entertainment of complaints e

”82.(1) The Commission shall not entertain, or proceed

with the consideration of, a complaint if, in the opinion

of the Commission -

(a) the complaint relates to the broadcasting of the

relevant program on an occasion more than 5 years

after the death of the person affected;

16

(b) the unjust or unfair treatment or unwarranted

infringement of privacy complained of is the

subject of proceedings in a court of the

Commonwealth or of a Territory or a State;

(c) the unjust or unfair treatment or unwarranted

infringement of privacy complained of is a matter

in respect of which the person affected has a

remedy by way of proceedings in a court of the

Commonwealth or of a Territory or a State, and in

the particular circumstances it is not appropriate

for the Commission to consider a complaint about

it7 or , ,

(d) the complaint is frivolous or vexatious, or was

not made in good faith.

"(2) The Commission may refuse to entertain a complaint

if, in the opinion of the Comjnis.sion, the complaint has

not been made within a reasonable time after the last

occasion on which the relevant program was broadcast by

the Corporation.

"(3) Where, in the case of a complaint, the relevant

program was broadcast within 5 years after the death ;of a

person affected, sub-section (2) shall apply as if at the

end there were added 'within 5 years after the death of

the person affected'.

"(4) The Commission may refuse to entertain -

(a) a complaint of unjust or unfair treatment if the

person named as the person affected was not

himself the subject of the treatment complained of

and, in the opinion of the Commission, did not

have a sufficiently direct interest in the ,

subject-matter of the complaint to justify the

making of a complaint with him as the person ’

affected; or

17

(b) a complaint made under sub-section 81(3) by a

person other than the person affected or person

authorized by him if, in opinion of the

Commission, the complainant's connection with the

person affected is not sufficiently close to

justify the making of the complaint by him.

"(5) Where a written complaint with respect to a

broadcasting or television program of the Corporation is

made to the Commission and - -

(a) the complaint has not been made to the

Corporation - the Commission may, in its

discretion, refuse to entertain the complaint

until the complainant so complains to the

Corporation;

(b) the complaint has been made to the Corporation -

the Commission may, in its discretion, refuse to

entertain the complaint unless and until the

complainant informs the Commission that no redress

has been granted or that redress has been granted

but the redress is not, in the opinion of the

complainant, adequate;

(c) (i) the complainant informs the Commission as

provided by paragraph (b) that no redress, or

no adequate redress, has been granted by the

Corporation; and .

(ii) the Commission is of the opinion -

(1A) if no redress has been granted -that, since the complainant complained to

the Corporation, a reasonable time has

elapsed in which redress could have been

granted; or

18

(IB) if redress has been granted -that redress was not reasonably adequate;

the Commission shall, subject to this section,

entertain the complaint.

"(6) Where a written complaint with respect to a

broadcasting or television program of the Corporation is

referred to the Commission under sub-section 4, 97(3) or

106(3), the Commission shall, subject to this section,

entertain the complaint.". . '

"(7) Where the Commission does not, for any of the

reasons specified in sub-sections (1) to (5), entertain a

complaint, it shall, as soon as practicable and in such a

manner as it thinks fit, inform - .

(a) the complainant;

(b) the Managing Director;

(c) if the complaint was referred to it by the

Commonwealth Ombudsman - the Commonwealth

Ombudsman;

(d) if the complaint was referred to it by a Community

Affairs Officer or Community Affairs Officers -

that Community Affairs Officer or those Community

Affairs Officers, #

of the Commission's decision and of the reasons for the

decision.

19

"(8) Where the Commission does not entertain a matter

that is the subject of several complaints, sub-section

(1) does not require it to notify each of the

complainants if the Commission is of the opinion that,

having regard to the number of complainants, it would be

unduly burdensome to do so.

"Consideration of complaints .

"82A. (1) Subject to section 82, before proceeding to

consider a complaint made to the Commission," referred to

the Commission by the Commonwealth Ombudsman, or referred

to the Commission by a Community Affairs Officer or

Community Affairs Officers, the Commission shall send a

copy of the complaint to the Managing Director.

"(2) Complaints which the Commission has determined to

consider shall be considered by the Commission either at

a hearing or, if the Commission thinks fit, without a

hearing.

"(3) Hearings under this section shall be held in .

private, and, where such a hearing is held in respect of

a complaint, each of the following persons shall be given

the opportunity to attend and be heard, namely - .

(a) the complainant;

(b) the Managing Director, and the officer of the

Corporation principally concerned in the subject

matter of the complaint; :

(c) any other person who, in the opinion of the

Commission, is responsible for the making or

provision of the program.

20

"(4) Where the Managing Director receives from the

Commission a copy of a complaint, it shall be the duty of

the Managing Director, if so required by the Commission -

(a) to make suitable arrangements for enabling the

complainant and any member or officer of the

Commission to view or hear the relevant program,

or any specified part of it, if and so far as the

Corporation has in its possession a visual or

sound record of it;

(b) to provide the Commission and the complainant with

a transcript of so much Of the relevant program,

or of any specified part of it, as consisted of

speech, if and so far as the Managing Director is

able to do so;

(c) to provide the Commission and the complainant with

copies of any documents in the possession of the

Corporation, being the originals or copies of any

correspondence between the Corporation and the

person affected or the complainant in connection

with the complaint;

(d) to furnish to the Commission and the complainant a

written statement in answer to the complaint.

"(5) Where the Commission proposes to consider a

complaint, it shall be the duty of the Corporation if so

required by the Commission to arrange for one or more of

the Directors, officers or employees of that body, to

attend and assist the Commission in its consideration of

the complaint. :

21.

"(6) Where, in connection with a complaint received by

it, the Commission has made to any person (other than the

Corporation) who, in its opinion, was responsible for the

making or provision of the relevant program, a request to

which this sub-section applies, it shall be the duty of

the Managing Director to take all reasonable steps to

ensure that the request is complied with.

"(7) Sub-section (6) applies to the following requests by

the Commission -

(a) to make suitable arrangements for enabling the

complainant and any member or officer of the

Commission to view or hear the relevant program,

or any specified part of it, if and so far as the

person requested has in his possession a visual or

sound record of it;

(b) to provide the Commission and the complainant with

a transcript of so much of the relevant program,

or of any specified part of it, as consisted of

speech, if and so far as the person requested is

able to do so;

(c) to provide the Commission and the complainant with

copies Of any documents in the possession of the

person requested, being the originals or copies of

any correspondence between that person and the

person affected or the complainant in connection

with the complaint;

(d) to furnish to the Commission and the complainant a

written statement in answer to the complaint;

22

(14)

(15)

(e) to attend or, where the person requested is not an

individual, to arrange for a representative to

attend, and assist the Commission in its

consideration of the complaint.

"(8) The Commission may, if it thinks fit, make to any

person who attends a hearing of the Commission in

connection with a complaint such payments as the

Commission thinks fit by way of travelling allowance or

subsistence allowance where expenditure on travelling or,

as the case may be, on subsistence is necessarily

incurred by him for the purpose of enabling him so to

attend.".

Clauses 83 to 85 to be opposed.

Page 58, clause 86, lines 21 to 41, leave out the clause,

insert the following new clause:

"Reports bv Commission

"86.(1) Where the Commission has considered and

adjudicated upon a complaint, the Commission shall

furnish a report on the complaint to -

(a) the complainant, or, if there is more than one

complainant, each of the complainants;

(b) the Managing Director;

(c) if the complaint was referred to it by the

Commonwealth Ombudsman - the Commonwealth

Ombudsman; and :

1

23

(d) if the complaint was referred to it by a Community

, Affairs Officer, or Community Affairs Officers -

that Community Affairs Officer or those Community

Affairs Officers.

"(2) Where the Commission has considered and adjudicated

upon a matter which is the subject of several complaints,

sub-section (1) does not require it to notify each of the

complainants if the Commission is of the opinion that,

haying regard to the number of complainants, it would be

unduly burdensome to do so. *

"(3) Where the Commission furnishes a report to the

Managing Director under sub-section (1), it may require

the Board to publish, in a manner specified by the

Commission, a summary of, and of its findings on, the

subject matter of the complaint and may, if it thinks

fit, require the summary to be in a form prepared or

approved by the Commission.

"(4) The Managing Director shall refer to the Board every

report furnished to him under this section.

"(5) The Board shall comply with any requirements made of

it by the Commission under sub-section (3).".

(16) Pages 59 to 61, Division 3, clauses 87 to 94, line 1 (page

59) to line 6 (page 61) to be opposed (consequential upon

insertion of clauses 80 to 82A ) .

(17) Page 61, clause 95, sub-sections (2) and (3), lines 10 to

16, leave out "Commissioner" (twice occurring), insert

"Commission".

(18) Page 61, clause 96, lines 17 to 26, leave out the proposed

clause, insert the following new clause:

24

"Delegation by Commission

"96. (1) The Commission may, either generally or as

otherwise provided by the instrument of delegation, by

instrument in Writing, delegate to a member, an officer

or employee of the Commission all or any of its powers

under this Act or the regulations, other than this power

of delegation.

"(2) A power so delegated, when exercised by the

delegate, shall, for the purposes of this Adt or the

regulations, be deemed to have been exercised by the

Commission.

"(3) A delegation of a power under this section does not

prevent the exercise of the power by the Commission.

"(4) A reference in this section to a member shall, if a

person is acting as a member, be construed as including a

reference to a person so acting.".

(19) Page 62, clause 99, lines 3 to 23, leave out "Commissioner"

(wherever occurring), insert "Commission".

(20) Page 62, clause 100 to be opposed.

(21) Page 63, clause 101, lines 13 to 15, leave out all words

after "Part".

(22) Page 63, clause 102, sub-section (1), line 17, leave out

"Commissioner", insert "Commission".

(23) Page 63, clause 102, sub-section (2), lines 21 to 26, leave

out the sub-clause, insert the following new sub-clauses:

25

"(2) The Commission shall include in the report prepared

under this section in relation to a year, a summary of

each complaint considered by it in that year, of the

action taken by the Commission on each complaint, and,

where the Commission has adjudicated upon a complaint, a

summary of the Commission's findings.

"(3) The Commission may, if it thinks fit, omit from any

summary included in the report under this section any

information which could lead to the disclosure of the

identity of any person connected with a complaint in

question other than a Director, officer or employee of

the Corporation or a person responsible for the making or

provision of the program which has been the subject of a

complaint considered by the Commission.".

(24) Page 65, after clause 106, insert the following new clause:

"Community Affairs Officers

"106A. (1) The Corporation shall appoint a Community

Affairs Officer in each State of the Commonwealth, whose

duty it shall be to receive questions and complaints from

the public.

"(2) Each Community Affairs Officer shall reply to

questions and complaints from the public as soon as

practicable after receipt.

"(3) If a person makes a written complaint to a Community

Affairs Officer with respect to a broadcasting or

television program of the Corporation, the Community

Affairs Officer may, if he has reasonable grounds to

believe that it is a complaint made under section 81(1),

cause the complaint to be referred to the Commission, and

shall notify the complainant accordingly.

26.

"(4) if the Community Affairs Officer is of the opinion

that a person making a complaint under section 81(1) is

not the person affected or a person authorized by him to

make the complaint, he shall not transmit the complaint

to the Commission and shall notify the complainant

accordingly.

"(5) Where the Community Affairs Officer makes a decision

of the kind referred to in section (4), and gives the

complainant notice in writing of the decision, that

notice shall include a statement to the effect that the

complainant may, if he is dissatisfied with the decision,

transmit his complaint, and the Community Affairs

Officer's decision, to the Commission.".

(25) Page 65, clause 107, sub-section (1), lines 8 to 12, at end

of paragraph (b), add the following new word and paragraph:

"and

(c) for and in relation to the election of a

non-executive Director by officers and

employees of the Corporation under section 12

of this Act".

E R R A T U M TO PRESS R E L E A S E 82/Ί 38 ISSUED BY SENATOR S I D D O N S .

insert the following line between lines two and three of paragraph three . .

Commissioner with a much "softer" Broadcasting Complaints

On page 7 of the attached Explanatory Memorandum delete the final sentence of the first paragraph.

On page 9 delete the second sentence of the first paragraph.

In both the latter cases the amendments have been re-drafted along the lines indicated.