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Friday, 6 December 1985
Page: 3159


Senator PUPLICK(1.33) —The Opposition has much pleasure in supporting the Public Lending Right Bill. We have one small amendment to move when we get to the Committee stage of the debate. This scheme has been a considerable benefit to Australian authors. It has allowed for some compensation to be made to Australian authors in the same way in which compensation is made to the performers of records through the scheme which is in place and administered by record industry association bodies to ensure that where records are continually played on radio and through other means, the composers are compensated for the public use of what they have initially created. I suppose that, like other senators who might be affected, I should declare a pecuniary interest in the matter as a recipient of payment under the public lending right scheme, although I am sure that compared with colleagues such as Senator Gareth Evans and Senator Mason it is probably very small biscuits.

The scheme, which has its genesis in Scandinavian countries as far back as 1946 in Denmark, and 1964 in Finland, was one of the notable initiatives in the field of the arts undertaken by the Whitlam Labor Government, and I think everyone gives full credit to the Government for having established that scheme.

There are only two points to be made in relation to this Bill. Firstly, I seek leave to have incorporated in Hansard a table taken from the annual report of the Department of Arts, Heritage and Environment, which is an analysis of the public lending rights payments for 1984-85 showing the range of money paid, the number of authors in each category and the number of publishers in each category and the total expenditure under the scheme, which amounted in 1984-85 to just over $1.5m.

Leave granted.

The document read as follows-

ANALYSIS OF PUBLIC LENDING RIGHT PAYMENTS 1984-85

Range $

Authors

Publishers

1 - 25...

144

82

26 - 50...

522

44

51 - 75...

538

23

76 - 100...

429

11

101 - 250...

1264

30

251 - 500...

575

31

501 - 750...

204

16

751 - 1,000...

100

3

1,000 - 2,000...

165

14

2,000 - 3,000...

44

8

3,000 - 4,000...

19

2

4,000 - 6,000...

13

4

6,000 + ...

12

14

4,029

282

$

Payments to Authors...

1 267 631.96

Payment to Publishers...

308 457.80

Adjusting Payments...

1 305.24

Total...

1 577 395.00


Senator PUPLICK —Under this scheme both authors and publishers are compensated for their contributions. In fact, the current payment is at the rate of 70c for authors and 17.5c for publishers. The payments are based upon a survey of libraries and the borrowing requirements. There have from time to time been criticisms of the way in which the survey has been conducted, but time does not permit us to go into that this afternoon. The final point to make, therefore, is that the Australian Society of Authors is particularly anxious that payments under this scheme should be indexed. It is the only type of scheme which currently does not have a provision for indexation, and the only public lending rights scheme throughout the world that does not have such a provision. I believe that is a very justifiable request which the Government might like to look at. We have a series of amendments which can be dealt with quite quickly in Committee, and the principle behind those might best be left to the Committee stage. Other than that, I have a great deal of pleasure in indicating the Opposition's support for this legislation and commending it to the chamber.