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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Sir FREDERICK STEWART (Parramatta) (1:58 AM) . - The purpose of this clause is obviously to prevent " pirating ", and honorable members will not object to that precaution. Whilst it is necessary to incorporate this safeguard in the bill. I believe that the commercial broadcasting stations have their own methods of protecting their interests. It is only right, that a commercial broadcasting station should not be permitted to pirate" a part of the broadcast programme of another station ; but honorable members know that it is a daily practice for many stations to co-operate in relaying portions of their programme. Why it is necessary to secure the approval of the Minister for those relays, I cannot understand. That really cannot he effected without the mechanical linkup being arranged through the PostmasterGeneral's Department; but to require that approval of the Minister to the mere fact of an arrangement between two or more stations is simply to cause unnecessary work.

Mr Beasley - That provision was in the old act.

Sir FREDERICK STEWART - Yes ; but that does not make it right. Until recently, aborigines were debarred from participation in Commonwealth social services, only because they always had been debarred. The fact that a certain provision is in the old act is no justification for perpetuating it. I believe from conversations I have had with officials that the original intention of this provision was to prevent the picking up and relaying of news from overseas stations. In that precaution the PostmasterGeneral's Department had an asset interest. I have no objection to saying that no station shall pick up and relay news items from any other station, particularly from overseas stations. It would be necessary for the Postmaster-General to give his consent to the picking up and relaying of news broadcasts from overseas, because it would not be possible to get the consent of the broadcasting station. But it is carrying things too far to say, as the clause now provides, that -

The licensee of a commercial broadcasting station shall not relay or broadcast any part of the programme of another broadcasting station . . . without the consent of the owner or licensee of the originating station and the approval of the Minister.

I am certain that, on reflection, the Minister will realize that there is a great deal in what I have said. I therefore move -

That the words " and the approval of the Minister " be left out.

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