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Tuesday, 3 May 1932

Mr MAKIN (Hindmarsh) .- The clause as originally drafted jeopardized the profits of private interests, and they showed their teeth in such a way as to compel the Government to introduce this amendment. Prior to the circulation of it, a section of the press took concerted action to influence honorable members and the public. A large newspaper combine, at the head of which is the Melbourne Herald, is making a determined effort to usurp the rights and powers of Parliament. Apparently, it is the ambition of -Mr. Keith Murdoch to become the Northcliffe or Beaverbrook of Australia, and dictate public policy. The amendment now- before the committee was circulated on the 17th March. On the 16th March Mr. Lloyd Dumas, managing editor of the Adelaide Advertiser and 5AD Broadcasting Station, visited Canberra, and 1 challenge the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Gullett) to deny that his visit related to the Broadcasting Bill, particularly the clause now under consideration.

Mr Gullett - -That may have been so ; but what does that establish?

Mr MAKIN - I am showing the influence that was brought to bear on the Ministry to compel it to amend this clause. The Government intended to proceed with the bill as drafted by the Scullin Ministry, but changed its mind only after the visit of Mr. Dumas. The loud guffaw of the Minister for Trade and Customs confirms my statement. This characteristic mannerism, which he display3 when subjected to criticism which he cannot answer, deceives nobody but himself. Yielding to the influence of vested interests, the Ministry resolved to sacrifice the rights of the people by depriving the national broadcasting stations of the right to accept sponsored programmes. The denials by ministerial members will be unavailing when the true history of this amendment is disclosed, [f ever undue influence was directed against a Ministry and private members, cm it was when vested interests interfered in connexion with this measure to dictate public policy, regardless of the welfare of the community.

Mr M Cameron - That is absolutely wrong.

Mr MAKIN - It is correct. Will the honorable member rise to deny it?

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