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Thursday, 30 April 1942

Senator DARCEY (Tasmania) . - Like other honorable senators I was pleased to hear Senator Gibson's comprehensive statement regarding the work of the committee of which he was chairman. When the committee visited my home town of Hobart I personally was acquainted with every man and woman who gave evidence before it. Upon reading the reports appearing in the newspapers I found that it was the view of church people that there should be more church services broadcast; that sporting associations felt that more time should be devoted to their activities; that music-lovers believed that they were entitled to more musical programmes, and so on. In regard to church broadcasts, it is gratifying to know that many churches throughout Australia are fitted for broadcasting. Broadcasting should have a tremendous educational value, but to-day it is not being used to any great degree in this direction, although, as Senator Gibson pointed out, addresses are given from time to time on health matters. Many years ago, when the late Kaiser decided to instil into the youth of Germany the belief that they were by God appointed to lead the nation in its campaign of military conquest, he sent for the schoolmasters and instructed them along those lines. When Hitler came into power he stipulated that every home must have a wireless set, because it was by means of radio broadcasting that he proposed to speak to his people, and to tell them what he wanted them to believe. There is another important aspect of educational broadcasts. Unfortunately, most of us are resigned to the fact that large numbers of the flower of our youth will meet death in the course of this dreadful war. Should that happen, then only the children and the aged will be left. It is too late to start educating the old people because, owing to the trend of events in their lifetime, they are already military-minded. In order to reap the full benefit of education in the future we must start on the children and educate them, not in the ways of war, as is the case in Germany and Italy, but in the ways of peace. Recently I met some people in Melbourne - some of them were university graduates - who apparently realize this, because they asked me to place before the Postmaster-General (Senator Ashley) a request that a broadcasting station be set aside entirely for the education of children. I sincerely trust that the Postmaster-General will see his way clear to accede to that request. As I have said, church people are demanding more time for church services. This unfortunate world of ours seems to have lost its moral tone. There is little international morality, and it is said that there is little or no business morality. We require moral talks which will bring home to the people the fact that the state of the world to-day has been brought about, as I have said on many occasions in this chamber, by incompetent and corrupt governments calling themselves democracies. If we had a real democracy in Australia the present dreadful state of affairs would never have arisen. The people of this country must be made to realize that it is up to them to alter conditions, otherwise there will be no new world order. To that end the radio could have a tremendous influence. In Melbourne a group of people with whom I am well acquainted, and who occupy high positions in the commercial and educational life of that city, started a movement, and, with money taken from their own pockets, they have the right to use station 3AK Melbourne, for half an hour every Sunday night. I was disappointed to find that reception of 3AK in Sydney and other parts of the Commonwealth is not very satisfactory, because, in order to get the full benefit of the movement, broadcasts will have to reach all parts of the Commonwealth.

Reference has been made to the Australasian Performing Right Association. In my opinion, that is the greatest blackmailing organization on earth. I quite understand that people who own copyrights should be paid for the use of them, but I cannot see any justification for collecting royalties on works which are in some oases 100 years old. Obviously the present holders could not have bought those copyrights 100 years ago. I know of a lady who went to Sydney from another State in order to continue her musical studies. She wanted to make a record and send it to her people in Tasmania. She went to the local broadcasting station and was told that, if she made a recording in that office, she would have to pay the Australasian Performing Right Association 7s. 6d. for the right to do so. If that is not a form of blackmail, I do not know anything about blackmail. The people could derive much greater benefits from both the national and commercial broadcasting systems if this pernicious practice were stopped. Compulsory arbitration has been suggested as a means of overcoming the difficulty. I agree that the sooner such a plan is implemented, the better it will be for all of us. I know that many broadcasting stations are paying very unwillingly for (performing rights. I am glad to notice that the commission is to include one woman member. The influence of a woman on the commission's broadcasting programmes will undoubtedly be good. One honorable senator mentioned the name of a man whom he hoped would be appointed as chairman of the commission, but we must not forget that Major Moses, who went overseas with our armed forces and had the good fortune to return, is still available. It is only fair that, if he is able and willing to do so, he should be given the opportunity to take up the work again. The Nazi Fuehrer insists that every German family must have a radio set. It is useless for Germans to profess ignorance of edicts that are issued from time to time because it is compulsory for them to listen to the official radio programmes. That is an indication of the important effect which broadcasting can have upon the civil population. I had thought that the committee would have recommended the appointment of a numerically smaller commission. However, I altered my opinion after hearing Senator Gibson's account of the committee's researches throughout Australia, and after hearing Senator A. J. McLachlan remind the Senate that, in future, radio will have a tremendous effect upon the morals and general educational standards of the people. I have much pleasure in supporting the bill.

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