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Wednesday, 24 August 1960

Mr DAVIDSON - From time to time, over quite a considerable period, I have had reports of the jamming of our programmes in South-East Asia. I know that, from the beginning of this year until about a couple of months ago, Radio Peking was operating on the same wavelength as Radio Australia.

I am informed that about two months ago the channel used by Radio Peking was moved to about three channels away from that used by Radio Australia. Whether that change will be sufficient to overcome the difficulty to which the honorable member is referring, I am not yet in a position to say with assurance, but I know that there has been an improvement. It is rather interesting to notice that this threat seems to have been made at the time or after the initiation of our programmes in Mandarin. From time to time, there has been jamming of our services, and the construction of a booster station in Darwin has been considered by the Postal Department. We have had discussions with the Department of External Affairs to ascertain whether such a station would overcome this difficulty. The fact is that a booster station would improve the reception in the South-East Asian area, but it would not avoid jamming if a deliberate attempt to jam reception was made.

This matter was discussed at the International Telecommunications Conference. A number of nations will abide by the decisions of that conference and will not engage in jamming, but if a nation elects not to abide by the decisions, there is not much that we can do about it. The construction of a booster station at Darwin has been under consideration, as I have said, but no firm decision has yet been made.

As a matter of interest, I have learnt through unofficial channels that the United Kingdom Government proposes to build a high-powered medium wave station at Sarawak in British North Borneo, and it is expected that this station will serve a great number of people owning Japanese transistor receivers, which, I understand, are now available in South-East Asia.

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