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ABC TV series must be re-classified science fiction.

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ABC TV Series Must Be Re-Classified Science Fiction Gavan O'Connor - Shadow Minister for Agriculture

Media Statement - 16 June 2000

The ABC Television drama series "Something In The Air" should be re-classified science fiction because one of its characters purports to be a Federal National Party Senator living in a rural community, Federal Shadow Agriculture Minister Gavan O'Connor said today.

Mr O'Connor said the National Party, which is holding its national conference in Tweed Heads this weekend, had only four Federal Senators and they were almost exclusively based in capital cities.

Federal National Party leader in the Senate Ron Boswell (Queensland) is based on the 36th Floor of Waterfront Place, Brisbane city. Deputy National Party Senate Leader Julian McGauran (Victoria) is based in Collins Street, Melbourne city while the Northern Territory's Country Liberal Party Senator Grant Tambling works from The Esplanade in Darwin.

The only regional-based National Party Senator, David Brownhill, (Tamworth, NSW) has now been replaced.

"I believe the ABC should re-classify 'Something In The Air' as science fiction or get the fictional Senator Doug Rutherford (played by well-known Australian actor Roger Oakley) based in the fictional rural community of Emu Springs to change his political allegiances," Mr O'Connor said.

"I understand there is a bit of poetic licence involved, but to have a National Party Senator living in a rural community is very far-fetched. It has all the hallmarks of classic science fiction."

"In contrast to the Nationals, the Australian Labor Party has very strong representation in rural and regional areas."

Labor Party Senators with offices in rural and regional Australia are: Senator Sue West-Bathurst, New South Wales; Kerry O'Brien-Launceston, Tasmania; Jan McLucas-Cairns, Queensland; Peter Cook-Kalgoorlie, WA; Nick Sherry-Davenport, Tasmania; Kay Denman-Ulverstone, Tasmania; and Shayne Murphy-Launceston, Tasmania.

"Despite the severe cutbacks to the ABC under the Liberal-National Federal Government, the national broadcaster has an excellent reputation for producing top quality programs," Mr O'Connor said.

"I believe 'Something In The Air' builds on that reputation; however, it is misleading to portray the National Party as out there representing rural Australians, when it is simply not true."

"The National Party left the bush philosophically many years ago with its support for reduced government services, the GST, full privatisation of Telstra and a raft of anti-bush measures introduced by the Howard Government."

"Now the National Party has physically left the country for the big smoke."

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.