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Wednesday, 23 October 1974
Page: 1905

Senator GUILFOYLE (Victoria) -The Opposition will not support this clause. This is the clause which specifies the requirement with regard to the exhibition of Australian short films.

The Opposition realises that this provides the opportunity that the Commission can present to the producers of short films to show their films or have their films shown in cinemas in Australia. We realise that this is one area where the young director can gain experience in the production of short films. We realise that it is another area of commercial enterprise for the Australian film maker. However, our attitude with regard to this clause now that the functions of the Commission are entirely subject to the approval of the Minister is such that we believe there would be more difficulties created for the commercial film producer in Australia if this quota on short films were to stand.

We would anticipate that the short films that would be made, subject to the approval of the Minister and under the direction of the Minister, could be in direct competition to an alarming degree with those films which are commercially produced. To have a requirement whereby the theatres of Australia need to show a specified proportion of the number of their films certified by the Commission to be Australian short films, we believe, would place in jeopardy the very limited opportunities that now exist for commercial film makers to have their short films shown in the theatres. Understandably it is an opportunity that is sought by film producers to have access to theatres for the showing of the films which they produce but to have a specification of short films, produced as Australian short films with the requirements that now are within the functions of the Commission, we believe, offers no assistance whatever to the commercial film producers. For this reason we will be unable to support this clause and will be voting against it. But this is not without understanding that it is an important part of the requirements of the film industry at this time.

We believe that the Minister has it within his hands to design this Bill to prove to the young Australian film maker that the Minister does desire to give him access to the theatres in this country. We do not believe that the way in which the Bill has been designed does give any opportunity for competition from the commercial film maker with the documentary style of film which apparently is the main purpose of the production of films under the Australian Film Commission. For these reasons it is with reluctance that the Opposition has to take this attitude to clause 10 but we believe it is the only way in which we can give some measure of protection now to the film producers in this country who are commercially producing films which would be having unfair competition from the magnitude of the documentary films which it seems are to be produced under the direction and approval of the Minister. The Opposition will be voting against this clause.

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