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Thursday, 18 May 1972
Page: 2836

Mr KEATING (Blaxland) - I should like to say something in opposition to the amendment. As my colleague the honourable member for Franklin (Mr Sherry) said, it makes a sham of the legislation introduced by the Government. It limits the advertising against cigarettes to a mere 3 seconds. Of course, this is consistent with the whole attitude of this Government with regard to radio and television. The Government is a lackey to special interest groups. It is particularly a lackey to the media, and always has been. When one looks at the multi-media combinations in Australia - I have been paying particular attention to them - one realises that no other country would stand for those multimedia combinations as we do. In the United States of America the Federal Communications Commission busted the newspaper and television monopolies but this Government has done nothing in that direction. A couple of months ago the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) introduced legislation into this House to extend the provisions of the Broadcasting and Television Act so that a Labor Government on taking office at the end of this year would not be able to interfere with the provisions of licences granted to television companies or radio companies during what is expected to be Labor's first 3 years of office. I assure the Government that ingenuity will not cease and Labor will at least attempt to break up the multi-media combinations.

It is well known that the Labor Party owns a number of radio stations and to prove our good faith we will move amendments to ban all cigarette advertising on radio and television, thereby denying revenue to companies that we own ourselves. Labor is prepared to do this. On the other hand, the Government is not even prepared to allow a reasonable sort of advertisement on television indicating the evils of cigarette smoking. That is typical of the attitude of this Government. A couple of weeks ago we saw the Government lackeying to Ansett interests against Thomas Nationwide Transport Ltd. We have seen the Government lackeying all the way through to special television interests. What is the Minister's pecuniary interest in this? I understand - and no doubt he will correct me if I am wrong - that he was or still is a Director of Chandlers Ltd of Brisbane, a radio broadcasting company. That company would benefit to a major extent from cigarettte and tobacco advertising. No doubt if one were to look closely at the Government ranks one would find quite a lot of members holding pecuniary interests of this nature and it would be to their benefit to see cigarette advertising going to radio and television companies. It is time that an honest government had a look at radio and television in Australia and the government broke up the existing multi-media combinations so that there might be some fairness in the media of this country. It is worth repeating that the Australian Labor Party intends to give the Australian Broadcasting Commission, as part of its federal platform, a newspaper in each of the capital cities.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! I think the honourable gentleman is getting a little far from the subject of the amendment.

Mr Barnes - Does Labor intend to socialise radio stations?

Mr KEATING - Labor intends to break up the multi-media combinations and all the Government intends to do is keep the special interest groups lackeyed to - particularly the cigarette companies and tobacco companies - and keep the money pouring in to the radio and television industries. One does not need to be a genius to work this out. Any doctor will agree that many people who die from coronary occlusions and heart attacks die because of a high nicotine content in their system which, particularly in the winter months, restricts arteries to the point where people suffer these attacks. It may not be proved conclusively but the statistics certainly indicate that if people who suffer these attacks had been non-smokers the heart attack may not have taken place. The best thing that any reasonable Government can do is ban all cigarette and tobacco advertising. However, that would be the honest thing to do and this Government would not do it. This Government is the lackey of the special interest groups and they would not cop it. Money would not come into the compaign coffers and that is what it is all about in this election year, the first election in 23 years at which this Government looks like being defeated. I oppose the amendment. I think it makes a sham of the legislation and it reflects no credit on the Postmaster-General to accept this sort of amendment which obviously he has had one of his backbenchers move for him.

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