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Friday, 15 May 1970

Mr HULME (PETRIE, QUEENSLAND) (Postmaster-General) - I have not had my attention drawn to the matters to which the honourable member refers, but it would seem to me almost impossible to produce certain television programmes without some public advertisements appearing. I think particularly in terms of the sporting programmes of the Australian Broadcasting Commission which are telecast from showgrounds and sporting grounds and which cover national championships of one type and another. As an illustration 1 mention the national tennis championships. Obviously around the courts are advertisements relating to tennis racquets, tennis balls and similar articles. I do not know how it would be possible to televise such an event without these advertisements being seen on the screen.

Many people commend public affairs programmes on television. I appreciate that there are others who have extreme views about various types of programme, but it would be impossible to give a proper coverage of the programme content without some advertisements appearing on the screen. The honourable member has been, to me, a frequent protester about the ABC. I felt that it would be desirable that he, and others who are greatly critical, should have a discussion with the Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. I endeavoured to arrange such a discussion and I understand an invitation was issued to the honourable member but that he was not prepared to accept it. While there is criticism of the ABC, I feel that much of it flows from some of the proverbial hares which are released by members of the Press gallery. Sometimes they are picked up by other members. Sometimes they are released to many newspapers in Australia and much of the criticism that flows, flows because of that criticism. I am reminded that recently there was a complaint by Mr Cowan, who is the Director of FACTS - that is, the Federation of Australian Commercial Telecasting Stations - in relation to a programme on Fiji which apparently advertised some overseas airline. The suggestion was that the ABC crew had used that airline to get to Fiji. In fact, it did not. It seems to me that in much of this particular area there is unjustifiable criticism. I am always prepared to take a matter up with the ABC. I am prepared to discuss any aspect with any honourable member, not on the basis of interfering with the ABC but at least asking for explanations which I believe the community is entitled to have.

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