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Monday, 11 November 1991
Page: 2863

Senator COLLINS (Minister for Shipping and Aviation Support) (9.02 p.m.) —The Government is opposed to this amendment. The advertising-sponsorship guidelines are appropriate for the SBS Board. In our view, it is not a matter for the Government or the Parliament to determine. Parliament gets its say when specifying the restrictions on permissible advertising in the legislation. I think that those restrictions are already rigorous in terms of both the time and placement limits that are put on them. The legislation also requires the SBS to include in its annual report details of all advertising and sponsorship of programs, so that will be a public process.

  The proposals for guidelines to be made disallowable will restrict the revenue raising ability of the SBS—that is, further than it is already restricted—particularly in the period between the SBS Board publishing the guidelines and Parliament considering them. Of course, it will inject a degree of uncertainty into any commercial arrangements with advertisers. The proposal will also throw into doubt existing long term sponsorship arrangements. The SBS is already disadvantaged in relation to commercial broadcasts, as I have said. Making this disallowable would already unreasonably restrict what are already fairly restrictive provisions. I believe that Senator Coulter indicated earlier that the Australian Democrats would be supporting this Opposition amendment.