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Wednesday, 7 December 1983
Page: 3418


Senator HARRADINE(5.21) —I wish to say some things about the report of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. I agree entirely with what Senator Baume has said. I think it was petty not to mention the commissioners. If that is an indication of the approach of the directors of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation at the moment, it is a reflection upon them. It is a reflection upon the Board not to acknowledge the good work that was done by Board members and the previous Chairman. Mention has been made of the fact that discussions were held between the Government and the Opposition parties, including the Australian Democrats, prior to the appointments being made to the new Board. Of course, no discussions were held with me. I am not complaining about that but I believe that some of the problems that have emerged with the Deputy Chairman of the ABC might not have emerged had she not been appointed to that position.

I made a Press statement on the appointment of the Deputy Chairman of the ABC which has not been replied to by her. That should be placed on the record in this Parliament, because I made that statement outside the Parliament and nothing in it has been responded to. I think it is fair to place it on the record so that in any future appointments more mature consideration is given or, as has been said previously in this debate more names are advanced by the Government before these appointments are made. My Press statement of 10 June 1983 said:

Senator Harradine . . . today attacked the appointment of Ms Wendy McCarthy as Deputy-Chairman of the A.B.C.

'Ms McCarthy is an ardent pro-abortionist who seeks head-on confrontation.

She describes abortion as ''a method of fertility regulation'' '.

She made that comment in the Sydney Daily Telegraph of 7 July. The statement continued:

'Last year, over the ABC, she characterised the pro-life views of former Minister Tom McVeigh as being ''snotty little ideas about conscience'' '.

She said that on the AM program of 11 May 1982. I went on:

'A month later, at the launching of a new pro-abortion group in Sydney, she raised the possibility of compiling lists of politicians who have used Family Planning Association and other agencies for abortion referrals for wives and daughters, if the politicians went ahead with moves to legislate for the abolition of abortion clinics.'

That was in the Australian of 28 June 1982. The Press release further stated:

'The appointment of Ms McCarthy is a victory for radical feminists, WEL, and the pro-abortion lobby.

'The contrast between the dignified and balanced approach of former Chairman Leonie Kramer and the strident partisan ''can't wait to get started'' approach of new Deputy-Chairman Wendy McCarthy . . . is quite revealing.'

I also expressed my concern that the Government had failed to reappoint a Tasmanian to the Board of the Corporation, stating:

Tasmania has had a representative on the ABC for some years now and the Government's decision to ignore Tasmania is another smack in the face for us down there.

I am concerned about Tasmania not having a representative on the Board. In fact, Talbot Duckmanton-I heard a very funny interview involving a British Broadcasting Corporation character about that particular name-a former General Manager of the ABC, came from Tasmania. I reiterate my concern about the fact that a Tasmanian has not been reappointed to the Board of the Corporation.