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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON (Barker) (3:20 AM) . - The honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) has just opened two Pandora's boxes. He has told honorable members that in the not distant future the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the Postmaster-General's Department will not have sufficient revenue from their respective shares of the listener's licence-fee to enable them to maintain their services. It is not the intention of this Parliament to permit the commission to engage upon ambitious development schemes that will call for financial assistance from Consolidated Revenue. We have already gone a long way towards providing an efficient service, and there must be some limit to our investment in this enterprise. It is all very well for the honorable member for Melbourne to talk about opening the gate. The Joint Committee on Broadcasting itself has opened the gate. Previous governments refused to grant free licences, but the principle has been incorporated in this bill, and I am perfectly sure that before the next election - and the Lord forbid that it should be postponed for a day longer than is necessary - some bright supporters of the Government will discover a thousand and one reasons for granting free listeners' licences to various sections of the community. I have no doubt that the honorable member for Melbourne, if he is not then leading the band, will at any rate be beating the drum.

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