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Tuesday, 17 November 1964

The CHAIRMAN - Order! I think the honorable senator is getting away from the resolution. I suggest that she direct her remarks to clause 4.

Senator BUTTFIELD - Very well. The licensees themselves, or the actors perhaps, could start a school so that actors, script writers and others could get the experience and training that they need. If we do that, we may have a chance of reaching world standards with our programmes. Until we do, we cannot hope to improve the Australian productions. Our programmes must be of world standard so that they can be sold overseas. Because of the cost of an Australian programme, we must sell it overseas to get a return for the producer. These are considerations we must have in mind in assisting all those interested to get a better Australian content. It is certainly imperative that the programmes have the approval of viewers. When the viewers are not satisfied with the Australian content, they are most likely to switch off the station.

I am not impressed by the argument put up by the Minister in another place that if we do not let this measure pass, the Treasury would be deprived of £300,000 in revenue. I realise that there is an hiatus, but if the Government had been willing to accept our request there would have been little loss to the Government and there would have been a great incentive to the stations, the licensees and the actors themselves. They would have seen that the Government was showing its intention of helping them to improve standards. My intention in pressing the amendment was to direct the attention of everybody in Australia, including the members of the Government, to the fact that there was an urgent need to do this. Since the Minister has given an assurance that he will come up with a worthwhile proposition, I am not prepared to go on with the request.

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