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Thursday, 14 November 1974
Page: 2460

Senator Mulvihill asked the Minister for the Media, upon notice:

(   1 ) Is the Minister aware that the controversial telecast by American entertainer, Mr F. Sinatra appeared on the Nine Network on 16 July 1974, in spite of forecasts that it would not get to air because of the attitude of unions associated with the entertainment industry.

(2)   What action was taken by the unions and the television stations concerned to ensure that the telecast went to air.

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

I am aware that the last performance by Mr Sinatra in this country was telecast throughout Australia and I am very much aware of the exhaustive negotiations that preceded it. In fact Mr Rigby of my staff was involved on my behalf in consultation with the unions concerned.

Arising from Mr Rigby's report to me, I wish to place on record my appreciation of the way that officers of the Actors and Announcers Equity, the Professional Musicians Union and the Theatrical Amusement Employees Association, together with representatives of Channel 9 settled this matter. The settlement was achieved in a sensible and, I understand, an amicable manner and this instance clearly demonstrates that goodwill can be achieved. As a result millions of people throughout Australia were able to see the Sinatra concert live on television.

The union leaders are to be commended on behalf of all their members for the decision they took in what they considered to be the overall public interest at the time. I well appreciate their point of view that the particular circumstances existing in this instance should not be taken by anyone as the establishment of a natural precedent.

Local Government Bodies

Senator Wriedt -On October 17 1974, I undertook to ascertain for Senator Carrick the position regarding payments to local government of grants totalling $56.3m to be made on the recommendation of the Grants Commission. The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The Government accepted the Commission's recommendations as part of its Budget measures, and preparation of legislation was put in hand without delay. The Budget was introduced by the Treasurer on 17 September- about a month later than usual because of the double dissolutionand the Local Government Assistance Bill was introduced on 23 October. The grants will be paid to the States for passing on to local government following enactment of the Bill.

Senator Carrickalso asked whether the Government has given consideration to any program to underwrite semigovernment and local government borrowings. The Government at present underwrites the borrowing programs of the State Governments and, under the Financial Agreement, raises virtually all borrowings for them. It lacks the Constitutional power to raise loans on behalf of local government and, earlier this year, a referendum to establish that power was unsuccessful. The referendum was, of course, opposed by the Opposition.

Petroleum and Minerals Authority

Senator Murphy - On 24 October 1974 Senator Webster commented that the Estimates Committee was informed that only very minor commitments were proposed by the Petroleum and Minerals Authority during the Financial Year 1 974-75 and then asked the manner in which the Authority has evaluated the true worth of the $3.5 million investment in Wambo mine.

The Minister for Minerals and Energy has provided the following answer:

In the announcement which I made about the Petroleum and Minerals Authority and the Wambo Mining Corporation Pty Ltd I said that the Authority's participation will require direct equity investment of approximately $3.7 million not $3.5 million as the honourable senator says together with an immediate loan of $700,000 to overcome urgent financial problems.

The evaluation upon which the investment will be made has regard to the freehold property and buildings including the colliery buildings, the mine and coal preparation plant, and other vehicles and equipment engaged in the mine operation together with the value of the proven and inferred reserves of coal and the mine development which has taken place to date.

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