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Tuesday, 10 September 1985
Page: 353

Senator Walsh —On 22 May 1985 (Hansard, page 2333) Senator Harradine asked the Minister representing the Minister for Communications the following question without notice:

Has the Minister representing the Minister for Communications had drawn to his attention the decision in the High Court of Australia which upheld an appeal by television stations against the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal's perceived right to ensure that children's television programs fitted in with the guidelines as laid down by the Tribunal before those programs went to air? Is it a fact that the Government made great play of the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal having that power to ensure the standards of programs for children on all Australian television stations? What action does the Government propose? Does it propose to introduce legislation to enable the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal legally to ensure that its program standards are observed before programs go to air?

The Minister for Communications has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

As stated in the second reading speech to the 1985 amendments to the Broadcasting and Television Act 1942, it is the Government's intention to bring forward amendments to clarify and affirm the Tribunal's powers to make standards. Included in these amendments will be provisions to affirm the Tribunal's powers to determine program and advertising standards which embody both qualitative and quantitative rules and to preclassify children's programs designed for the under 14 age group.

In the course of the second reading speech Mr Duffy said that the amendments would be introduced in the Budget sittings and that if it were found to be necessary they would be made effective from the date of that speech.


Senator Walsh —On 20 May 1985 (Hansard, page 2128) Senator Foreman asked the Minister representing the Minister for Communications the following question without notice:

As the first domestic communications satellite is to be launched very soon, can the Minister say whether the possibility of aggregating regional markets is being considered as a means of ensuring that people who live outside the capital cities will have the benefit of extra broadcasting and television services?

The Minister for Communications has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The honourable senator would already have a copy of a report by the Forward Development Unit of my Department on future directions for commercial television. Aggregating regional markets so as to provide three commercial television services is discussed in that report.

A similar study is underway into future directions for commercial radio. Though this study will not be completed until October it will canvass a range of options for providing adequate commercial radio services. This too may include the possibility of aggregating regional markets.


Senator Ryan —On 17 April 1985 (Hansard page 1138) Senator Childs asked me the following question without notice:

Has the Minister for Education seen the Press report in today's edition of the Australian in relation to the Queensland Institute of Technology's participation in the Government's equity program? Can the Minister inform the Senate of further information in relation to the Institute? Are other programs envisaged for other higher education institutions?

The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

The Queensland Institute of Technology was one of 15 higher education institutions throughout Australia to have recently received a grant under the 1985 equity program. These projects are being funded from the $1m available in 1985 for the equity program in the higher education sector which is administered by the Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission. It is a new program designed to try out approaches to improve the participation of people from disadvantaged groups in the community such as Aborigines, women, disabled persons, ethnic groups, young people from low income families and people living in outer metropolitan and rural areas in higher education. In the honourable senator's State of New South Wales the Commonwealth has provided $245 000 to support projects at Nepean CAE, Macarthur Institute of Higher Education (with Macquarie University and Nepean CAE), the New South Wales Institute of Technology and the University of Wollongong. Further details of all projects were provided in my press release of 14 March 1985.

The women in non-traditional professions scheme at the Queensland Institute of Technology is seeking to increase the participation of women in the Institute's engineering and surveying courses by:

(a) mounting an active recruitment campaign-including advertising, school liaison, seminars and orientation programs;

(b) introducing a preparatory bridging course-which will attempt to redress deficiencies in previous academic background through basic maths, science and engineering subjects; and

(c) setting up arrangements including a study area exclusively for these students use, staffed by a woman engineer who will act as a tutor and co-ordinator of the program.

It is envisaged that the provisions of such support services will be concentrated most heavily in the first few semesters and that students in the program will move completely into the mainstream course by the end of their third semester.

The Commonwealth is contributing $80 000 to the project in 1985. It is open to other institutions to provide similar assistance to groups of students from within the total recurrent funding provided by the Commonwealth. Considerations will be given to other initiatives of this type as the equity program is developed.