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Thursday, 4 May 1989
Page: 1764

Senator MACKLIN(11.22) —I thought that it was a good effort. However, it does seem to me an extraordinarily long bow to suggest that we are dealing with the item of criticism or review. I know that lawyers are very creative, but it seems to me that if one were selecting a piece of material for criticism or review it would be with regard to that material. Senator Hill has been talking about making use of audiovisual material for purposes of study and research which may not have anything to do with the intrinsic merits of the particular material that one is using, but one is using it to amplify, illustrate, spell out or clarify some other matter. I think it is extraordinary that in the Act a reviewer has the ability to escape any problems if he happens to say that this is a nasty bit of work. If he says that a restaurant is cooking in a particular way and he ends up with a defamation, that is his problem. If a person says that this particular film is a pretty trashy piece of work, then people will be able to copy it and look at it at leisure. But if a person wishes to use part of that work for the purposes of illustrating, for example, the manners of a particular period, then that is not fair dealing. I accept the proposition of the Minister for Justice (Senator Tate) of the protection of copyright. It might very well end up on a restriction of knowledge rather than anything else.

I think that Senator Hill is perfectly correct in suggesting that the world is moving on and that more material is likely to be found in forms other than on the printed page. On the basis of this discussion, when I first came into the Parliament, I thought that this matter was covered. I now find the point that I thought was adequately covered is certainly not adequately covered and I therefore express support for Senator Hill's amendment because I think that it does cover that area. I do not think that the Minister should be too concerned because Senator Hill has made it very difficult with his proposed new section 103e (2). One has to hurdle items such as the purpose and character of the dealing; the nature of the audiovisual item; and the possibility of obtaining the audiovisual item within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price which means that it would rule out most of the items the Minister has referred to. In other words, his favourite program is down at the local video store at a reasonable price-generally $1 or a couple of dollars to hire. We are probably only looking at those items which are not commercially available, which are held only in collections and which are quite specifically held for the purposes of research and study. On that basis I indicate that the amendment that Senator Hill has put together, in the light of the Minister's answer, is a very reasonable and a very moderate one. I would have thought that the Government could very well wear that without too much problem at all.