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Tuesday, 26 November 1974
Page: 2715

Senator WEBSTER -Can the Minister for the Media inform the Senate whether the ViceChairman of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, Mr J. E. Neary, holds shares in any companies having an interest or involvement in the broadcasting and entertainment media or whether any members of his immediate family hold shares in such companies as a result of recent transfers by Mr Neary or prior issue? Can the Minister also inform the Senate of the circumstances involved in the production of stage entertainment as part of Australia's contribution to Expo '74 at Spokane, Washington? Was an Australian commercial production company involved in staging this entertainment? Were tenders called by the Government for this work? Is it a fact that Australian entertainers appearing at Expo '74 and at several other earlier international trade fairs have been provided by management agencies or production companies with which Mr Neary has been associated?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) -Mr Neary was appointed to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board by this Government in, I think, June 1973. At the time of his appointment he made it plain to me and to the Chairman of the Broadcasting Control Board that any interests which he had had in any companies connected with the television industry either had been disposed of by himself or were in the course of being disposed of at that time. I well recall receiving a letter, shortly after his appointment, from the Chairman of the Broadcasting Control Board stating that Mr Neary had disposed of those interests. All the arrangements for the exposition at Spokane were organised and arranged by the Department of the Special Minister of State.

I know that prior to Mr Neary's appointment to the Broadcasting Control Board the previous Government, in relation to earlier expositions, namely at Osaka and at Montreal, had invited Mr Neary to make arrangements to provide entertainers for Australia. When Mr Neary was appointed by this Government to the Broadcasting Control Board my colleague the Special Minister of State- I think it was Senator Willesee at that time- in making the original arrangements for Spokane sought my assistance in securing the services of Mr Neary. He was made available to the Department of the Special Minister of State on an advisory basis. It was on that basis that Mr Neary 's services, as a member of the Broadcasting Control Board, were made available to the Department of the Special Minister of State. I know that Mr Neary went to Spokane on behalf of the Department of the Special Minister of State to make arrangements for Australian performers to take pan in that exposition. I cannot say what other arrangements were made as a result of that visit.

However, the Australian entertainers who went to Spokane were very well received. I understand that they were an outstanding success. As a result, a number of contracts have been won by Australians for recording performances in the United States. I understand that arrangements are being made for a number of Australian performers to take entertainment contracts in the United States. If the honourable senator knows anything about the entertainment industry within the United States he will know that that is an extremely difficult area for a foreigner to break into. I am assured by the Department of the Special Minister of State and also by the Minister for Foreign Affairs that the use of Australian performers at these expositions is very well received by the host countries and the people of the host countries. I am given to understand that on this occasion it was considered to be the outstanding event of the exposition.

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