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Monday, 14 October 1991
Page: 1871

Mr SMITH(9.07 p.m.) —-I move:

(1) Clause 45, page 16, after subclause (4) insert the following subclause:

"(4A) Guidelines developed by the Board under subsection (4) are disallowable instruments for the purposes of section 46A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.".

Firstly, I thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Communications (Mr Snowdon) for his summing up and his complimentary remarks. I suspect that he probably had greater differences with the honourable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Campbell) than he did with me. But we shall not enter into that debate any further, as it has been well aired here this evening.

I am disappointed that the Government does not see any merit in our amendments, and I will not take the time of the chamber to discuss each and every one of them again, because I had ample opportunity to do so during my remarks earlier today. However, our amendment to clause 45, which is a proposal to make the advertising guidelines subject to parliamentary scrutiny by making them a disallowable instrument, does have the advantage of giving to the Parliament scrutiny of what is the fundamental major change with regard to this legislation and the operations so far as the consumers of its services will be concerned. To have a five-minute limitation within the hour for advertising--`advertising' being interpreted in the broadest sense--is a major change, and to have the Parliament involved in some form of scrutiny is important.

Indeed, the other major amendment that we have moved--that is, that the corporate plan, particularly in its commercial aspects, be subject to revision by the Minister--is also important. As I mentioned earlier, the Minister for Transport and Communications (Mr Beazley) has written to the ABC suggesting that he might want to see that particular Act amended so that he can have an overview of its corporate plan. They are the two central matters that we are raising by way of amendment. I am disappointed that the Government does not see merit in them.

Where there is public funding, I believe there needs to be some ability given to the Parliament to be involved, either through the Minister or through the operation of the mechanisms in this House, and a disallowable instrument is by far and away the preferable way to proceed. Some of the remarks of my colleague the honourable member for Dundas (Mr Ruddock) also allude to some of the reasons that underpin our desire to see these amendments enacted. But, in any event, I would want to insist that this amendment be considered and that the chamber be given the opportunity to test the matter. So the Opposition would wish to divide at some appropriate stage on that matter.

Question put:

That the amendment (Mr Smith's) be agreed to.