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Wednesday, 18 May 1960

Mr HAMILTON (Canning) (3:51 AM) . - As the Opposition has decided to keep us here until this time of the morning to deal with the bill, I would like to make some comment on it. I have quite a few things to deal with. As I may not be able to cover all of them in my alloted time, the House might give me an extension of time.

The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) when commencing the debate on behalf of the Opposition last night, said that the Australian Country Party was being taken for a ride. He also said that we were being dragged along by the heels in this matter. I thought that that would be the last thing that the Leader of the Opposition would say, having regard to the display that was put on a couple of days ago by himself, his deputy leader and other members of the Australian Labour Party. As the debate developed, the Opposition took up the theme of the necessity for the control of television. I shall remind honorable members opposite of what they had to say in 1956. The present Leader of the Opposition claimed in those days that television should not be introduced into Australia because what had been going on in the United States of America was too vulgar to be introduced here. Most of the Opposition members have taken every possible opportunity, even though television is conducted largely by private enterprise, and vulgar though they say it is, to get on to television programmes. I would like to know, in view of the comments made by the Leader of the Opposition on my interjection that he believed in nationalization, how he and his colleagues can favour the idea of independent country stations, as he said last night. Do they mean that they are prepared to let the country districts have independently owned stations and to have the national stations in the cities?

I shall deal with one other thing before I sit down. I shall not detain the House for too long. The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), when dealing with the clause of the bill that is intended to stop the cornering of programmes, charged the Government with wanting to indulge in price fixation. That is not the intention. Any price can be asked for a film. All that the Australian Broadcasting Control Board will do is to decide whether the price asked is just and reasonable.

The honorable member for Parkes accused this Government of not endeavouring to get land for war service land settlement on just terms. He knows full well that that comment should have been directed to the activities that occurred in New South Wales. I would like to remind him - because he was atacking the members of the Country Party at that time - that the New South Wales Government, after consultation with this Government, saw fit to alter its legislation so that for land that that Government acquired for war service land settlement the owners would receive a just price. I only bring this matter up because the honorable member for Parkes and his colleagues have concentrated their attack on honorable members in this corner, because we support this legislation. Members of the Opposition have kept this debate going for as long as they possibly can by getting on the backs of some members of the Government parties who have said that this legislation is being rushed through. I will keep the debate going, if they would like me to do so. I have sat in this Parliament from Wednesday morning until Friday morning without having any sleep. I can see that my colleagues of the Country Party are much more awake than are honorable members in other sections of the House. If honorable members want us to do so, we are quite prepared to keep the debate going, but in view of the fact that somebody has something to do later this day, I shall conclude now.

Question put -

That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr. Calwell's amendment) stand part of the question.

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