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Tuesday, 24 September 1974
Page: 1291

Senator McLAREN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I ask the Minister for the Media: Has the Australian Broadcasting Control Board imposed restrictions on all commercial stations to prevent them from telecasting programs in colour until the official starting date for tests on colour transmission? Has the attention of the Minister been drawn to allegations that one commercial station in Melbourne recently ignored the Board 's ruling on this question and telecast a sporting event in colour? Will the Minister investigate these allegations to ensure that stations do not breach the rules and thereby create a risk that viewers interested in purchasing sets may be convinced that they should buy a set when it has been tested for its reception only on one channel rather than on all of the channels which may be available?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - I have not seen the reports to which Senator McLaren refers and in which, he suggests, it was reported that a commercial television station had breached the arrangements made by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. I have not received a report on the matter from the Broadcasting Control Board. I will certainly make inquiries of the Board about the matter. It is true that the Board has imposed limits on the transmission of colour signals from stations until the official commencement date which is 1 March 1975. Of course, the honourable senator has set out in his question the simple reason for this limit being imposed. It is that people who purchase sets are entitled to be able to colour test every commercial station and the Australian Broadcasting Commission station that they will expect to receive in colour in their homes. It is to ensure that all sets that are purchased may be tested properly at the point at which the consumer will be using the set in the household that this requirement has been introduced. I understand that from time to time this requirement has been attacked but that is the simple reason for it.

It is true that from next month the Board will allow certain limited colour transmissions for testing purposes. I think they will be beginning with the allowance of the use of outside broadcasting facilities. Additional arrangements are being drawn up by the Broadcasting Control Board and I am given to understand that they will be circulated some time this week to the commercial stations. It is not expected, as far as I know, that test transmissions as authorised by the Board will last longer than one hour on any particular day. That hour, of course, will vary from day to day in order to enable as wide a testing pattern as possible to be covered. I will refer the first portion of the honourable senator's question to the Broadcasting Control Board for further advice.

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