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Wednesday, 14 May 1980
Page: 2185

Senator NEAL (VICTORIA) - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Post and Telecommunications. Will the Government further examine the possible effect on the commercial ethnic Press of a Government funded and quasi-commercial ethnic television and radio network? Will the Minister concede the possibility that the Government funded media are likely to cream off advertising revenue which, at present, allows many ethnic newspapers to survive? Finally, will the Minister assure the Senate that the Government does not seek to destroy the independent ethnic newspapers and replace them by a publicly funded television and radio network at great expense to the Australian taxpayer?

Senator CHANEY - I assure the Senate that the Government does not seek to destroy the ethnic Press. The proposal which is at present before the Parliament is the fulfilment of a very longstanding commitment to establish ethnic broadcasting in Australia. That is a policy commitment which has been before the Australian people and in the knowledge of this Parliament now for a good number of years, lt should not carry the sort of inference which has been given to it by the honourable senator. But I will refer the content of the question to the Minister for Post and Telecommunications so that he is aware of the concern which is expressed by the honourable senator in his asking this question.

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