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Thursday, 12 April 1973
Page: 1369

Mr DOYLE (LILLEY, QUEENSLAND) - I ask the Postmaster-General: Will he consider providing, free of charge, television viewing licences to persons born without hearing and to those who lose their hearing at an early age?

Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is true that such concessions are given to people who suffer from a physical defect. This practice has not yet been applied to those who suffer from deafness. I think that the honourable member's question has much validity, particularly when we realise that these people suffer from this acute disadvantage not only in the physical sense but also from the point of view of their earning capacity. I think it is a question that ought to be given serious consideration. I have had discussions with my ministerial colleague, the Minister for the Media. He is also of the opinion that some facilities should be extended to these people. In relation to news broadcasts, sign language should be used to indicate to the deaf person what is being said. It would also be appropriate for sub-titles to be used. In other words, in addition to the economic facility of granting licence concessions, other facilities ought to be extended to the deaf. I will do my best to accede to the honourable member's request.

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