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Thursday, 4 May 1989
Page: 1836


Senator PUPLICK(8.00) —Opposition amendment No. 18 to clause 26 relates to the definition of the term `news broadcast' or to the exclusions which relate to news and current events broadcasting for the purposes of obtaining consents and permissions for broadcasts. The issue which has been raised is the narrow wording in clause 26, section 248a (1) (f). The wording is sufficiently narrow that it would exclude programs dealing with events which are not necessarily new or contemporaneous but are nevertheless of current interest. The example given is of the Channel 9 program, Sunday.

As has already been pointed out, article XVb of the Rome Convention refers to current events, rather than to the narrow term `news'. Perhaps attention should be drawn specifically to what may be an inconsistency in the Government's approach to this matter. A little further on, section 248 (a) (2) on page 49 provides for exemptions relating to the recitation or delivery of an item of news or information. I quote specifically sub-clause 2, which provides:

a performance referred to in subsection 28 (1), or a reading, recitation or delivery of an item of news or information, or the performance of a sporting activity, shall be taken not be performances for the purposes of the Part.

The Opposition has put the point of view, in the speech which Senator Hill made before the suspension of the sitting for dinner, that the narrow definition of the term `news' in clause 26, rather than reflecting the broader definition which is used in the Rome Convention of `current events', would have the deleterious consequences of which he spoke, namely that it would make it that much more difficult for current affairs programs to be broadcast in a more easy and expeditious fashion. The amendment now before the Committee will have the effect of widening that particular scope and definition so as to avoid the problems to which Senator Hill, Senator Macklin and I have been drawing attention.