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Tuesday, 28 August 1973
Page: 502

Mr Bennett asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice:

(1)   Is it a fact that Thorn Electrical Industries has taken action to restrict supplies of television sets to retailers.

(2)   If so, has the Attorney-General received any complaints regarding this practice.

(3)   Is this action contrary to the Restrictive Trade Practices Act.

(4)   If not, is any legislation contemplated that will prevent this practice and will compel manufacturers or their agents to supply firms that are registered and operating a legitimate business with goods applicable to that business.

(5)   Will the Attorney-General investigate the situation with a view to rectification and making goods freely, available to small retailers.

Mr Enderby - The Attorney-General has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

The present Restrictive Trade Practices Act provides for certain classes of agreements and practices to be examined by the Commissioner of Trade Practices and, if he thinks necessary, by the Trade Practices Tribunal, to determine whether those agreements and practices are contrary to the public interest. The matters raised by the honourable member and a particular case that he brought to my attention have been referred to the Commissioner of Trade Practices for any action he may consider appropriate. The problems being encountered in the particular case have now been satisfactorily resolved.

FM Broadcasting (Question No. 235)

Mr Kerin asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice:

(1)   What is the present situation with respect to FM radio.

(2)   Does he accept that FM radio should be based on the UHF band.

(3)   Will receivers using the UHF band be more expensive than if the VHF band was used.

(4)   Can he give details of the comparative costs of UHF and VHF receivers.

(5)   Is the only objection to the VHF band that one television channel would have to be re-allocated.

(6)   If not, what other objections are there.

(7)   If technical reasons limit the use of the VHF band, can he say why the United States of America with a large number of broadcasters, and most other countries, can cope with the use of the VHF band.

Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   The Australian Broadcasting Control Board is currently engaged in fundamental planning directed towards the preparation of technical standards for the proposed FM broadcasting service, with a prospective date of introduction commencing in the 1976-77 period.

(2)   Yes.

(3)   and (4) No costs are available at this time as the technical standards have not yet been determined. The Australian Broadcasting Control Board is, however, currently investigating the type of system to be adopted and one of the primary objectives is to select a system which minimises the cost of receivers. Drawing on current experience with UHF television and UHF mobile radio services there is no basic reason why a UHF receiver should be more expensive than its VHF equivalent for a similar production volume.

(5)   No.

(6)   The removal of only one television channel would not be satisfactory as the limited frequency spectrum made available would severely restrict the possible number of FM channels. In addition, some remaining television services would be subject to objectionable interference from a VHF FM service.

(7)   Countries such as the United States of America have retained FM broadcasting in the VHF band by providing a television service employing UHF channels in addition to those in the VHF band, and have also had to significantly compromise their stereophonic transmissions and superimposed services.

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