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Wednesday, 12 April 1972
Page: 996

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES)

My question is directed to the Acting PostmasterGeneral. The Minister will recall that yesterday he said he had directed the Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board last week to study the position of the licences of Channels 0 in Melbourne and Brisbane in the event of a takeover of Ansett Transport Industries Ltd by Thomas Nationwide Transport Ltd. I now ask the Minister whether the report has yet come to hand. If so, will the Minister say what is the position in respect of the transfer of the licences to the takeover company? If the report has not come to hand, will the Minister request the Board to furnish it to him as a matter of urgency? When he has received it, will he advise the Parliament of the exact position so far as the future of the licences is concerned?

Senator COTTON - I think the honourable senator will agree with me that I made the point that late last week I had read in the Press comments about this matter and that I had asked the Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to supply me with information about it. Work is proceeding on that point, but I think I ought to mention additionally that late yesterday afternoon a request was received from TNT for approval to acquire 23i per cent of the shares in Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. The Australian Broadcasting Control Board will therefore, having received that official request, be making a full investigation of the TNT shareholdings to determine whether the acquisition is permissible under the Act. It will then report to the Minister. I do not think I can go beyond that at present, except to say that I accede to the honourable senator's request for the earliest possible action.

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