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Tuesday, 26 August 1980
Page: 686

Mr INNES (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - I refer the Minister for Post and Telecommunications to the changeover of television channel ATV-0 to ATV-10, a changeover that was made with indecent haste after pressures were applied by--

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honourable gentleman must ask for information and not argue the issue.

Mr INNES - I ask the Minister: What was the reason for dismantling the channel 0 transmitter? Why is the transmitter now being rebuilt with second-hand material from the old transmitter when a new transmitter on order from Japan will mean a further dismantling and replacing only a few weeks after the transmitter is rebuilt? Was this dismantling, rebuilding, dismantling program an expensive waste of taxpayers' money so that the Government could keep on schedule, at all costs, the opening of the ethnic television service as a phoney election gimmick?

Mr STALEY - If the Opposition thinks that the start of multicultural television is a phoney political event let it say so to the ethnic groups throughout Australia. Indeed, I have been advised--

Mr Innes - It is a phoney election gimmick and you know it. Why did you haul the tower down in the first place?

Mr SPEAKER - The honourable member for Melbourne will remain silent.

Mr Innes - Tell us why you pulled the tower down?

Mr SPEAKER - I warn the honourable member for Melbourne to cease interjecting.

Mr STALEY - I have been advised that the ethnic councils in New South Wales and Victoria and the Federation of Ethnic Community Councils of Australia are utterly distressed by the attitude of the Opposition towards the start of multicultural television services in Australia. They are astonished at the Opposition's obvious lack of concern for ethnic communities in this country. It is true that it is the Government's desire to get multicultural television going under existing powers and regulations, as supported by the Senate Standing Committee on Education and the Arts on 24 October. Some technical matters were raised in the honourable member's question, and I will have them looked at.

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