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Standing Orders - Senate Standing Committee - Reports of the Sixtieth Session - Fourth


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The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia

SENATE STANDING ORDERS COMMITTEE

Fourth Report for the Sixtieth Session

1980-81-82

November 1982

Presented and ordered to be printed 10 November 1982

Parliamentary Paper No. 274/1982

_

Parliamentary Paper No. 274/1982

The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia

SENATE STANDING ORDERS COMMITTEE

Fourth Report for the Sixtieth Session 1980-81-82

November 1982

The Commonwealth Government Printer Canberra 1983

(5) Commonwealth of Australia 1983

ISBN 0 644 02359 7

Printed by Authority by the Commonwealth Government Printer

STANDING ORDERS COMMITTEE

FOURTH REPORT FOR THE SIXTIETH SESSION

1980-81-82

The Standing Orders Committee has the honour to report to

the Senate as follows.

TELEVISION

1. The Committee has had on its agenda for some time the

questions of the televising of the proceedings of the

Senate and of Senate committees. The Senate referred to the

Committee the matter of rules to govern the televising of

committees. Standing committees are authorized to have

their proceedings televised by Standing Order 36AA, which

contemplates rules laid down by the Senate to regulate the

use of television in committee proceedings. The Committee

considered, however, that it should not deal with the

televising of committees in isolation, but should consider

the larger question of the televising of Senate proceedings.

2. In respect of the televising of the proceedings of the

Senate, the Committee has had regard to the construction of

the new Parliament House, which will be designed and equipp­

ed so that the proceedings of the two Houses of the

Parliament may be televised should the Houses so decide.

The first question to be determined by the Committee was,

therefore, whether it would be appropriate to recommend the

televising of Senate proceedings in the existing building.

Information supplied by the Australian Broadcasting Commis­

sion indicates that the televising of the proceedings of

both Houses in the present building would involve a capital

cost of approximately $5,000,000 and an annual operating

cost of approximately $680,000. The Committee considers

that the Senate would not be justified in embarking on the

expenditure which would be required to televise its proceed­

ings in the present building, in view of the expenditure

which is involved in the provision and equipping of the new

building. The Committee therefore recommends that no steps

be taken to televise proceedings of the Senate in the

present Parliament House.

3. In respect of ' ‘ the televising of Senate committees,

information supplied by the Australian Broadcasting Commis­

sion indicates that the provision of equipment to allow the

televising of committees in the present building would cost

approximately $750,000 and that an annual operating cost of

approximately $250,000 would be involved. The Committee

considers that the Senate would not be justified in under­

taking this expenditure in the present building. The Commit­

tee therefore recommends that no steps be taken to provide

facilities for the televising of committees in the present

building. Committees in the past have authorized the film­

ing of their proceedings, subject to conditions laid down

by the committees, without sound recording, for use by

television stations in news broadcasts. The Committee's

recommendation would not interfere with this practice.

4. The Australian Broadcasting Commission has advised

that it will soon commence detailed design studies for the

camera system for the new Parliament House, and proposes to

call tenders early in 1984 . It is hoped to have a prototype

system for a typical committee room by the end of 1985. The

Commission has suggested that this system be used in one of

the existing committee rooms on a continuous basis to

assist in the evaluation of the system. The Committee

agrees with this suggestion, as it would provide an oppor­

tunity for the Senate to assess the televising of committee

proceedings. The Committee will continue its consideration

of rules for the televising of committee proceedings with a

view to having rules adopted by the Senate in time for this

trial of the televising of committee proceedings.

5. The Committee considers that when the two Houses

occupy the new building firm decisions should have been

made in respect of the televising of the proceedings of the

Houses and their committees, including the form and nature

of any televising. Questions which must be resolved include

whether there is to be continuous televising of the Houses,

which would involve new television channels or cable tele­

vision; whether complete video-recordings of proceedings of

the Houses are to be made; whether such video-recordings

are to be made available to television stations, and if so,

on what basis and subject to what restrictions or rules;

and whether the Houses themselves should be involved in

editing video-recordings for broadcast.

6. The Committee therefore recommends that the Senate

seek the concurrence of the House of Representatives for a

reference to be made to the Joint Committee on the Broad­

casting of Parliamentary Proceedings to allow the Committee

to review its 1974 report on the televising of Parliament­

ary proceedings and to make recommendations in respect of

the televising of proceedings in the new building.

7. A suggestion was made during the deliberations of the

Committee that if the Houses aim to give greater public

access to their proceedings, consideration should be given

to the continuous radio broadcasting of both Houses. This

may be technically possible at present without excessive

expense. The Committee recommends that a reference be made

to the Joint Committee on the Broadcasting of Parliamentary

Proceedings on this matter.

8. The Committee recommends that the Senate agree to the

following resolution;

(1) That the following matters be referred to the

Joint Committee on the Broadcasting of Parliament­

ary Proceedings:

4.

(a) the televising of the proceedings of the

Houses of the Parliament and their commit­

tees in the new Parliament House; and

(b ) the continuous and simultaneous radio broad­

casting of both Houses of the Parliament.

(2) That the provisions of this resolution be forward­

ed to the House of Representatives by Message.

Harold Young Chairman

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