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Wednesday, 24 February 1971

Senator GAIR (QUEENSLAND) - In directing my question to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral I refer to page 154 of the Seventieth Annual Report of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board where it is stated that Mr H. E. Hendy is the owner of all the shares in 3 companies which hold substantial interests in 5 television stations. These interests had a market value as at 30th June last of $980,000 and included 22,000 shares in CTC Canberra, 101,150 shares in NBN Newcastle. 131,800 shares in WIN Wollongong, 54,700 shares in AMV Albury and 309,000 shares in QTQ

Brisbane, ls the Minister aware that the total paid up capital of the 3 companies owning those shares is St 4? Does the Minister know the source of the funds which the 3 companies used to purchase shares worth almost Sim and lo purchase, in addition to these television shares, freehold property at 16-18 Hunter Street, Sydney which has a Valuer-General's value of $270,000? ls the Minister aware that the executors of the estate of Mr Hendy who died in August last year have now been advised by John Fairfax and Sons Ltd that that company holds an option to purchase the capital of the 3 companies at par - that is, for $14 - notwithstanding that the companies own assets worth at least Slim? In view of the option said to be held by John Fairfax and Sons Ltd will the Minister ascertain whether that company is in breach of the Broadcasting and Television Act and, if it is not, will he advise whether he proposes amendments to the Act to prevent a continuation of the position in which beneficial ownership of shares worth over Sim in the various television companies will pass to John Fairfax and Sons Ltd or their nominees on a payment of the nominal sum of SI 4?

Senator Dame ANNABELLE RANKIN - 1 am not personally aware of the points the honourable senator has raised in his question. I shall place them before the Postmaster-General and see what reply I can obtain for the honourable senator.

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