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Tuesday, 3 May 1932

Mr GULLETT (Minister for Trade and Customs) . - Honorable members opposite are endeavouring to show that the amendment is being submitted by the" Postmaster-General at the dictation of a section of the press of this country. It is true that some of the newspapers objected to the clause in its original form, but what really influenced the Government was the attitude of honorable members of all parties. The honorable members for Balaclava (Mr. White), North Sydney (Mr. Hughes), New England (Mr. Thompson), and Parramatta (Mr. Stewart) - to mention some of them - and a number of honorable members in direct opposition all opposed the clause as originally introduced. Nothing could be more preposterous or misleading than the attempt of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde) to prove that the amendment was actually written for the PostmasterGeneral by the Brisbane Courier. The circular forwarded by the Brisbane Courier to the honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Baker) bears the date of the 31st March, whereas our amendments were circulated on the 17th March, exactly a fortnight earlier. What has happened is perfectly clear. The Brisbane Courier, being concerned with the possibility that the amendment might not be accepted, issued this circular to honorable members urging them to support the amendment, and I take it that the honorable member for Oxley will accept the advice tendered to him.

As a member of the Government, I have not the least objection to the amendment, because it was never intended that money should be made through broadcasting advertisements. Whether these things are termed " sponsored programmes " or defined as they are in the bill, matters not. The position to-day is precisely what it was when the bill was first introduced. Ministers never intended that the A class stations should compete with the B class stations for advertising. We do not intend that now. It is laid down in the bill that the commission shall not engage in advertising, but if those words are not qualified in some way, programmes supplied by theatres or operatic companies might be held to be an indirect form of adver- rising for the people providing them. It is well, therefore, to set out in the bill in detail what the commission may accept in the way of programmes, and that was all that was ever intended by the Government when the bill was first introduced.

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