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Tuesday, 24 September 1974
Page: 1291

Senator GUILFOYLE (VICTORIA) - I direct my question to the Minister for the Media. I refer to the announcement from Federal Cabinet yesterday of the authorisation of the introduction of FM radio in Australia and the establishment of a new Australian Broadcasting Commission station in both Sydney and Melbourne. As persistent reports have been circulated regarding the recommendations of the Priorities Review Staff with regard to the control of the development of FM broadcasting, will the Minister table this report for the information of the Senate? As yesterday's decision with regard to the introduction of FM broadcasting is a decision in isolation with regard to musical broadcasting societies in New South Wales and Victoria, will the Minister facilitate Parliamentary discussion on the development of FM broadcasting and public access broadcasting by either making a statement of Government policy or initiating discussion on the basis of the Priorities Review Staff report?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) -So far as the first portion of the honourable senator's question is concerned, it is not for me to table the report of the Priorities Review Staff. The report was commissioned in the first instance by the Prime Minister and I assume that he will be tabling it. I certainly have no objection to that. I can tell the honourable senator, however, that, despite Press speculation from time to time about certain aspects of the Priorities Review Staff report, particularly reports that appeared in the Australian' newspaper, Cabinet authorised me yesterday to say that I am the Minister for the Media, that I am in charge of and ministerially responsible for broadcasting and that there will always be a Department of the Media.

Senator Greenwood - Was there some doubt about that before?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) -There was no doubt whatever; but there appeared to be conjecture by certain journalists who write for certain newspapers, and I thought that for the information of the honourable senator himself and the journalists that I would put the record straight. So far as the second aspect of the matter is concerned, the answer is yes. As a matter of fact, I was hoping that I might be able to make a ministerial statement on the matter this morning and hopefully, if the papers reach me in time, I will be able to do so. If not, I expect to be making a short ministerial statement tomorrow.

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