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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr BEASLEY (West Sydney) (Minister for- Supply and Development) (3:50 AM) . - iSo far as I am able to determine, the two clauses are separate in their application. Clause 97 refers to broadcasts that are blasphemous, indecent or obscene. In respect of such broadcasts, as has already been explained, the Minister may call for a report and may prosecute the offender. Clause 9S provides that, arising out of the prosecution, he may take steps to prevent the offender from continuing to broadcast. In that event, the offender will have had a trial and the charge against him will have been proved. The clause goes even further and deals with broadcasts not actually blasphemous, indecent or obscene, but in which the action of the broadcaster may be vulgar or improper. For disciplinary purposes, the clause provides that the Minister shall have power to do something more than reprimand the offender. He would probably in the first instance issue a warning not to offend again. The circumstances would not be such as to warrant action under the provisions of clause 97, but would deserve a lesser penalty. Failing compliance with the warning-

Mr Morgan - It is a severe penalty to take a man's livelihood away.

Mr BEASLEY - There are two sides to the question. If a man is reprimanded, he ought to be aware of the consequences which will follow if he does not heed the warning.

Mr Blackburn - There is no obligation to warn him at all.

Mr BEASLEY - He may be prevented for a period from broadcasting, or prevented from broadcasting the kind of talk, joke or propaganda which gave rise to the offence. These clauses have been inserted in order to meet the department's demand for the provision of some disciplinary machinery. The need to keep the broadcasting service on the highest moral plane is obvious. Honorable members have laid particular stress on the importance of maintaining the highest educational and other standards in broadcasts intended for little children. Probably the highest standards are not maintained, but we ought to strive to attain them, even at the cost of observing, the proprieties even more strictly than may be necessary.

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