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Wednesday, 20 November 1974
Page: 2564

Senator DEVITT (TASMANIA) -I ask the Minister for the Media whether Mr Nicholas Johnson, a former Commissioner of the United States Federal Communications Commission is in Australia at the invitation of the Australian Government and of the Minister. What is the purpose of Mr Johnson's visit? Was not Mr Johnson, when a member of the Federal Communications Commission, a controversial figure in this area of activity in the United States?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - It is true that Mr Nicholas Johnson, a former member of the Federal Communications Commission of the United States of America, now chairman of that country's National Citizens Committee for Broadcasting, is in Australia at the invitation of the Australian Government and, in particular, at my invitation as Minister for the Media. The honourable senator will recall that some 10 years or more ago there was a select committee of this Senate which commonly became known as the Vincent Committee and which was charged with the responsibility of inquiring into the encouragement of Australian productions for television. One of the recommendations of that Committee was that an annual seminar should be held in Australia to bring together people of international repute throughout the media so that all aspects of the media could be publicly debated and discussed. The Australian Labor Party eventually adopted in general principle the recommendations of the Vincent Committee as part of its Party platform. In accordance with that section of our platform there is to be held in Sydney tomorrow an international media symposium which has been organised by my Department. Mr Nicholas Johnson, who has taken such an influential place in United States media activities, has been invited to participate. It is true that Mr Johnson has a reputation for being a very forthright personality in the United States, particularly in the time that he was a member of the Federal Communications Commission. His views are respected throughout the whole media world. Certainly I, and I know those attending the symposium, are very much looking forward to his contribution to it. It will be a very important gathering of some of the leading identities in communications in Australia.

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