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Thursday, 9 December 1976
Page: 3678

Mr Jacobi (HAWKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

(   1 ) Does the Government propose to introduce legislation to implement any of the recommendations of the Tariff Board, as it then was, contained in its report on motion picture films and television programs.

(2)   Does the Government propose to introduce legislation to regulate the present restrictive agreements existing in the film industry in Australia, and more particularly:

(a)   legislation to break ties between distribution companies and motion picture exhibition chains, such as that between Cinema International Corporation Pry Ltd and the Greater Union Organisation, and those between Hoyts Theatres Ltd and 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, United Artists and Columbia Pictures,

(   b ) legislation guaranteeing access to first release films to independent and small exhibitors and

(c)   legislation to establish a marketing board to distribute all imported films so that independent country theatres and city exhibitors will be able to obtain films on favourable terms, available only to the large exhibitors such as the Greater Union Organisation, Hoyts Theatres and Village Theatres.

Mr Malcolm Fraser - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: (1)I should remind the honourable member that it was on the initiative of a previous Liberal/National Country Party Government that the reference on motion picture films and television programs was made to the Tariff Board in March 1972.

In Opposition we supported the implementation of the report's main recommendations incorporated in the Australian Film Commission Act 1 975.

This Government has recently, in line with the report, sought to achieve further rationalisation through changes incorporated under the Australian Film Commission Amendment Act 1976.

(2)   (a) The Trade Practices Act 1974 is designed to regulate restrictive agreements and practices regardless of the industry in which they occur.

Applications under that Act were made on behalf of the members of the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia to the Trade Practices Commission for clearance (and, in one instance, authorisation) of certain agreements between the members thereof, which agreements regulated the terms and conditions upon which films were to be made available to exhibitors.

On 29 June 1976, a member of the Trade Practices Commission, acting under delegation, denied clearance in respect of each of the agreements on the grounds that each agreement had, or was likely to have, a significant effect on competition between the parties to the agreement, or, on competition between those parties or any of them and other persons.

As a result of that decision, each of the agreements was abandoned by the parties and the authorisation application was withdrawn by the applicant.

I am informed that the Trade Practices Commission is keeping the practices of companies within the film industry under review. (b)and(c)No.

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