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Wednesday, 22 August 1984
Page: 136

Senator BOLKUS —My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, follows on the question from Senator Reynolds which arose out of the suggestion that the ABC FM network is to be reoriented and moved from its current Adelaide base. I refer the Minister to the fact that the ABC consultative committee network is not meeting frequently and will in fact not meet before any decisions are made in this matter. I ask the Minister whether it is a fact that these committees, intended to represent community attitudes within the ABC decision-making process, have been curtailed by a lack of funds. I further ask: Will the Government intervene to ensure that the situation is remedied and that the consultative committees can operate effectively at what is obviously a vital period in ABC policy making?

Senator BUTTON —Following my answer to the earlier question from Senator Reynolds I can only add that such information as I have from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation suggests that there will be a full opportunity for discussion within the organisation itself before any final decision is made on the policy proposals which are being considered and which have been the subject of public discussion. Whether that general description implies the consultative committees to which Senator Bolkus referred I am not able to say at this stage, but I will inquire regarding that matter. I emphasise once again that it is not the Government's business to give any direction to the ABC about that matter. One would have views about it and express hopes that those procedures would be followed, but I will certainly make the inquiries. I am sure they can be made in such a way that they would indicate the concern expressed by Senator Bolkus and others in their questions.