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Thursday, 19 May 1960

Mr DAVIDSON (Dawson) (PostmasterGeneral) . -I move -

In proposed new section 105a. omit sub-section (8.), insert the following sub-sections: - " ' (8.) The Board may, in its discretion, order a party to proceedings before the Board under this section to pay to another party such amount in respect of costs as is fixed by the Board, and the party to whom the costs are payable may recover the amount of the costs as a debt by action in a court of competent jurisdiction. (9.) Where the Board makes an order under sub-section (1.) of this section, the person against whom the order is made may appeal against the order to the Commonwealth Industrial Court on the ground -

(a)   that he had a reasonable ground of objection to the making of the order; or

(b)   that the terms and conditions specified in the order are not just and reasonable in all the circumstances. (10.) The Commonwealth Industrial Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine an appeal under this section, and shall -

(a)   if it is satisfied that the ground of appeal specified in paragraph (a) of the last preceding sub-section has been established - quash the order;

(b)   if it is satisfied that the ground of appeal specified in paragraph (b) of the last preceding sub-section has been establishedeither quash the order or direct that the order be varied in such manner as will, in the judgment of the Court, make the terms and conditions just and reasonable in all the circumstances; or

(c)   if it is not satisfied that a ground of appeal has been established - dismiss the appeal. (11.) An appeal under this section shall be by way of re-hearing, but the Court may have regard to any evidence given before the Board. (12.) The jurisdiction of the Commonwealth

Industrial Court under this section may be exercised by a single Judge. (13.) Sub-sections (5.) and (6.) of this section apply both in and outside Australia, and, for the purpose of giving jurisdiction to courts with respect to any offence arising under either of those subsections outside Australia, the offence shall be deemed to have been committed at any place in Australia where the offender is found, resides or carries on business. (14.) In this section - " licensee ", in relation to a national television station, means the Commission; " person " includes the Commission; " television film " or " film " means any photo graphic film, magnetic tape or other thing from which images can be reproduced and which is intended for use for televising images (not being commercial advertisements), and includes a sound recording for use in conjunction with any such film, tape or other thing. (15.) In this section, unless the contrary inten tion appears, a reference to a particular television film includes a reference to any print, copy or facsimile of that television film.'.".

Clause 28 is intended to give effect to the Government's desire to prevent any cornering of television programmes and is part of its plan to ensure that the whole of the television medium will not become a monopoly in the hands of the few. I want to deal very briefly with the main aspects of the proposed new section 105a, which is inserted by clause 28. Proposed new sub-section (1.) provides that, if a person who has control of a television film refuses to make it available to the licensee of a television station or will only do so on terms that seem unreasonable to the licensee, the licensee may apply to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board for an order directing the film to be made available to him. Proposed new sub-section (2.) requires that the board shall then hold an inquiry.

Sub-section (3.) provides that the board is not entitled to make an order if it is satisfied that the person against whom the order is sought has a reasonable ground of objection. Sub-section (4.) sets out some of the matters which could be taken as reasonable grounds of objection. Generally speaking, these matters are intended to safeguard legitimate commercial interests in a competitive industry. For instance, a station having possession of a film will not be required to make it available to another station in the same area and an order would not be made which would cause a breach of a reasonable condition imposed by an advertiser.

All I have done is to outlone briefly some of the provisions of the proposed new section to show what it means, and I point out that other sub-sections deal with various other matters. However, representations have been made on this subject. It has been pointed out that in such a matter as this, involving the acquisition of programmes at considerable expense by a licensee probably from some source which involves the possibility of the licensee requiring to hold the programmes for some time, some provision should be made for an appeal against an order by the board that the licensee should make the programmes available to an applicant. We have agreed that such a provision should be made, and this is done in the amendment. Let me make it plain that the amendment provides than an application for a film from" an owner still has the right to go to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board and ask for an order directing that the film should be made available, with the qualifications which are clearly expressed. However, if the board decides that the programme should be made available, the owner of the film would have the right of appeal.

Proposed new sub-section (8.) in the amendment is inserted in an effort to ensure that no foolish application will be made for an order that a film be made available.

I commend the amendment to the committee.

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