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Thursday, 2 June 1960

Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) (Leader of the Opposition) . - That seems sensible, but why was this provision omitted in the first instance? Why was not this amendment made when the bill was before this chamber originally? Why was it left to the Senate to make the amendment? The Minister has not told us what happened, after the bill left this chamber, that caused the Government to discover that there was something wrong with the original drafting.

Mr Davidson - Discussion is taking place all the time on bills, and various improvements were found possible. That is quite common.

Mr CALWELL - That, too, seems a reasonable explanation, and I know that discussion about bills is quite common. But it is happening in connexion with this bill in a mysterious way. Was the amendment made as the result of protestations by the honorable member for Isaacs (Mr. Haworth) and others of his friends, who felt that the bill was unsatisfactory? Is the amendment a concession to some interest about which we know nothing at this particular moment? Why was it necessary to make provision that the licence should be deemed to have been in force from the original granting? It is very hard to follow it all. The Minister said that the section, as framed, pre-supposes the continuance of the licence from year to year. Where does it actually say that? I take it that the renewal of the licence is for a year only.

Mr Davidson - It is a case of annual renewal after the first five years. This merely makes it quite clear that the licence is extended for a year only.

Senate's amendment agreed to.

Proposed section 92d -

A licence is subject to a condition that, at all times during the currency of the licence -

(a)   shares representing not less than eighty per centum of the issued capital of the licensee will be beneficially owned by persons each of whom is either a resident of Australia (other than a company) or a company controlled by persons (other than companies) who are residents of Australia; and

(b)   shares representing more than fifteen per centum of the issued capital of the licensee will not be beneficially owned by a person (other than a company) who is not a resident of Australia or by a company controlled, directly or indirectly, by persons who are not residents of Australia.

Senate's amendment No. 3 -

At the end of proposed section 92d add the following sub-section: - " ' (2.) Where, upon the commencement of this section, there arises a contravention of the condition specified in the last preceding sub-section by reason of facts or circumstances that would not have constituted a contravention of the condition specified in paragraph (a) of section ninety-two of the Broadcasting and Television Act 1942-1956, those facts and circumstances shall be deemed not to constitute a contravention of the condition specified in the last preceding sub-section unless they continue after the thirtieth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-one.".

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