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Monday, 26 May 2003
Page: 14850

Mr MURPHY (1:48 PM) —I would like to congratulate Mr Russell Balding, the Managing Director of the ABC, for giving a punch in the nose to the editor of the Australian. Last Thursday, under the heading `What does the ABC think it is doing?', the Australian attacked the ABC in relation to the request by the ABC for an extra $250 million to fund its programs. I encourage everyone to read Mr Balding's letter in last Saturday's Australian, which concludes:

... your editorial blithely advises the ABC to “look at some limited advertising” to assist with funding difficulties. I would have thought that someone so keen to invoke the ABC's act would have bothered to read it. For your information, the act states rather simply “The corporation shall not broadcast advertisements”.

On Thursday, in an article titled `Aunty's budget blues' in the media section of the Australian, Errol Simper said inter alia:

Some have no doubt that if the Government believed the Senate would facilitate a dismantling of Keating's “queens of the screen/princes of print” legislation then media diversity would obviously be an issue. They say the Government would then “play the ABC card”. They mean Canberra would attempt to counter fears about shrinking diversity in funding a greater public broadcasting presence.

As you know, Mr Speaker, the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Bill 2002 is before the Senate. (Time expired)