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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) (12:54 PM) . - There is a weakness in that suggestion. I cite the example of station 2CH, which, as a matter of policy, objects to broadcasting liquor advertisements. Two competing publicans might want to buy advertising time from that station.

Mr Blackburn - The amendment which I have suggested would provide for such an eventuality. The station could refuse to broadcast a particular class of advertisements, but it would not be permitted to take advertisements from publican " A " and refuse advertisements from publican " B ".

Sir Frederick Stewart - Regulations could make the position clearer than the amendment which the honorable member has suggested would do.

Mr CALWELL - Even if the clause were amended as suggested by the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Blackburn) it would be obligatory upon the owner of a broadcasting licence to make his advertising service available without discrimination to any persons who were competing for it.

Mr Blackburn - If two persons engaged in the same business wanted to advertise, the station would have to take both advertisements.

Mr CALWELL - Even if its policy was not to advertise their wares, it would have no right to refuse the advertisements.

Mr Blackburn - It would have that right if the clause were amended as I suggest.

Mr CALWELL - I do not agree, because the honorable member does not propose to delete the words " and shall make his advertising service available ".

Mr Blackburn - I propose to add the words, " without discrimination for or against any competitor That means that if two competitors seek the right to advertise from a station, it shall not discriminate between them.

Mr CALWELL - If the policy of the station is not to advertise liquor, and these people are publicans-

Mr Blackburn - The station can reject both advertisements.

Mr CALWELL - I consider that, even if the suggested amendment were made, the clause would still not give to the owner of the licence the right to refuse advertisements. The proposed amendment of the honorable member for Parramatta might meet the position, in part at any rate, in that the Minister would have power to make regulations safeguarding persons who do not wish, on ethical or political grounds, to broadcast certain advertisements. There is a Young Nationalist station in Melbourne known as 3XY. There is also a Labour station in that city known as 3KZ, another Labour station in New South Wales known as 2KY, as well as a Western Australian Labour station. I assume that these stations would not want to broadcast advertisements on behalf of their political opponents, but should they refuse to do so, they would be defying the law, if the bill should be passed in its present form. A provision similar to this clause has always been in the Australian Broadcasting Commission Act, but in actual practice it has always been ignored.

Sir Frederick Stewart - It was not known.

Mr CALWELL - It was always known. It may not have been known to the honorable member, but it was known to. members of the Labour party. If we agree to the amendment moved by the honorable member for Parramatta we shall at least be able to slide out of a little trouble for a while. I do not like the suggestion of the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Blackburn), becauseI do not consider that it would meet the position. The best thing to do in the circumstances would be to agree to the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Parramatta and hope that eventually the difficulty would be overcome by means of a regulation or an amending bill framed according to the recommendation of the proposed parliamentary standing committee.

Amendment agreed to.

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