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Wednesday, 30 August 1972
Page: 529

Senator WRIEDT (TASMANIA) - I address a question to the Attorney-General. In view of the Minister's reply to Senator Carrick in which he claimed that a communist plan to increase its influence over the Australian Broadcasting Commission had met with success since 1970, will he state which areas of the ABC are currently under communist influence? Is it the Government's intention to identify the persons concerned and, if so, will they be permitted to remain in their present positions?

Senator GREENWOOD - The honourable senator has either misunderstood my answer or he has chosen to put the word communist' in places where I did not. If it was done advisedly I think it is a smear on which he ought to have some reflection. I said there was an ideological group and that the reference to this ideological group and the indication of what they were doing was to be found in the Communist Party Tribune' of June 1970. If what I then said is properly to be regarded, as Senator Wriedt said it was, as an allegation by me of communist influence, I think he is putting words where he wants to put them, possibly for some advantage which politically thereafter can be made. I stand by what I said. It can be looked at in the record and it does not need an appellation of 'communist' alongside it to make the damage which can be done quite clear to anybody who is concerned about the situation. I know, or I believe I know, of some of the persons who constitute this group. It is a very significant group if the numbers of persons who attend the mass meetings of employees are any indication. The policies which have been expressed by these meetings are in accord generally with the views which I expressed from this article. That makes it a matter of major concern. The Government has constantly said that the Australian Broadcasting Commission is responsible for its own affairs. Sir Alan Hulme's dedication to the principle of autonomy of the Australian Broadcasting Commission can be verified over all the years that he has been Postmaster-General. His words have been directed towards urging the Commission to exercise control within its own domain. That is what I have said and that, as 1 said earlier, is a view to which the Government wholeheartedly subscribes.

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