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Thursday, 21 August 1980
Page: 584

Mr HOLDING (MELBOURNE PORTS, VICTORIA) - I ask the Prime Minister: Is it a fact that the list of previous apparent breaches of the Broadcasting and Television Act tabled by the Minister for Post and Telecommunications is an entirely different document from the one that both the Prime Minister and the Minister for Post and Telecommunications published to a number of journalists on Wednesday and Thursday of last week? Is the difference that the tabled list omitted to mention any company names or the types of breaches alleged to have occurred? Is it a fact that the reason for the difference is that the list tabled yesterday was provided by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal, which had ruled that the information requested of it by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Post and Telecommunications would not be provided in the form requested as to do so would be prejudicial in all the circumstances? Is it a fact that the Tribunal's list was not provided until Friday of last week? Is the Prime Minister concerned that, in publishing the previous list, he and the Minister for Post and Telecommunications may have made false allegations against a number of the companies and persons mentioned in it because of the fact that many of them had committed no breach at all of the Broadcasting and Television Act?

Mr STALEY (CHISHOLM, VICTORIA) (Minister for Post and Telecommunications) - The Prime Minister--

Mr Holding - I directed my question to the Prime Minister.

Mr STALEY - I had better not speak for the Prime Minister, but I am certainly not concerned about the last matter that was raised by the honourable gentleman and I do not believe that the Prime Minister would be so concerned. The fact is that some time ago my office sought information for me. The Prime Minister was also interested in receiving information. We sought information in the normal fashion, and a certain amount of information was provided in the normal fashion by the Secretary of the Tribunal. It was not provided on a confidential basis. That was part of the information to which the honourable member referred. Then we made a formal request for more information, and it was provided in the form which I tabled in the House the other day. It was the Tribunal's view, in providing that long but not exclusive list of occasions when there had been apparent breaches, that it ought to be provided without the names of particular broadcasters. That was its view of how the Act should be interpreted.

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