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Tuesday, 26 November 1985
Page: 2252


Senator GRIMES (Minister for Community Services)(4.17) —As I think everyone knows, the matter raised by Senator Puplick relates to a report to the Parliament by the Commonwealth Ombudsman in respect of a complaint made in 1981 by Mr R. Cotton. The Minister for Communications (Mr Duffy) informs me that he sought a detailed report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on the Ombudsman's report to the Parliament. He has not yet received the information necessary to consider the Government's response to the Ombudsman's report.

As the Senate will be aware, the whole question of how complaints against the ABC should be handled has been a subject for heated debate in this chamber in the past. In this regard, the Minister for Communications is also seeking from the ABC a full report on the operation of the complaints procedures, which of course is related to the Ombudsman's report. Also, when these reports have been received and considered by the Minister, he will be in a position to respond to those important matters to which Senator Puplick has quite reasonably drawn our attention. I might add as supplementary information that in the Ombudsman's annual reports to 1984 it was noted that he had received 74 written complaints and 38 oral complaints against the ABC. Of these, all but one has been successfully resolved.