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Tuesday, 24 September 1974
Page: 1306

Senator BISHOP (South Australia) (PostmasterGeneral) - in reply- I thank the honourable senators who have spoken for their ready co-operation with the aims of the Bill. There has not been any great criticism of the Bill. It is a new and important reform. For many months both Senator Douglas McClelland and I have considered that we should recommend such a procedure to the Cabinet. We prepared submissions to Cabinet. I think the reform has been very well received. The old system in Australia was in the nature of a poll tax. Some other countries have abolished the fees for television and radio, as we have now done. Of course, in this sort of legislation anomalies are created. As soon as one decides on a date, or puts up a fence, as it were, there will be people who fall on either side. It is unfortunate that some people could not be advised of the proposed legislation. In relation to refunds, if we had decided to make such refunds it would not have been possible to carry out this reform.

Senator LAWRIE (QUEENSLAND) - What about prosecutions?

Senator BISHOP -I will tell the honourable senator. A number of people- I do not think I should give their names- were facing prosecution. I think that the best way I can put it to the honourable senator is that appropriate letters have been sent to the people concerned and as a result the aims of which he spoke will be attained. I thank honourable senators for the speedy passage of this Bill.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.

Sitting suspended from 1.3 to 2.15 p.m.

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