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Tuesday, 8 November 1983
Page: 2368

Mr LLOYD —My question is addressed to the Minister for Communications. In relation to impending Government decisions on the ownership and use of the domestic satellites I ask the Minister whether he has considered or will now consider the disadvantages for television stations and viewers in the capital cities other than Sydney if networking by 30-watt transponders in national beam is approved rather than networking through the States by 12-watt transponders in State beam. Does he believe that networking by such a 12-watt State system would allow superior State capital city and regional programming for news, sport and localism generally? Would it overcome time zone and censorship problems and provide greater protection for State, regional and capital city stations against unauthorised direct broadcasting? Would it silence the criticism of State Premiers against direct national networking from Sydney? Finally, is the Minister aware of the criticism that the network 30-watt transponder campaign is really to prevent the successful introduction of pay television into Australia?

Mr DUFFY —As I have indicated on more than one occasion in the past few weeks, all the matters raised by the honourable member for Murray relating to the use of the satellite are currently under consideration by the Cabinet. I do not intend to discuss those matters in this House until they have been fully considered and decisions have been made by the Cabinet. However, all the matters of significance that were raised-or those that I can certainly remember; there were quite a few of them-in relation to the broadcasting uses of the satellite are matters which the Government has under consideration.