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Thursday, 22 November 1973
Page: 2034

Senator GIETZELT (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Has the Leader of the Government in the Senate seen large scale television manufacturers' advertisements claiming that their industry was in danger of losing its independence to foreign influence? This is related to the colour television controversy. Did the Minister note that the advertisements were authorised by the Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia), His Master's Voice, General Electric, Healing, Kriesler, National, Philips, Pye and Thorn companies? Is the Minister aware that HMV- Healing is two-thirds owned by overseas interests; that General Electric is 80 per cent owned by United States interests; that Kriesler, Philips and Pye are substantially owned by Philips of Holland; that Thorn is wholly owned by United Kingdom interests; that National is wholly owned by Japanese interests; and that only AWA is Australian controlled? In the circumstances, will the Minister examine these advertisements and advise whether the Commonwealth has any power to control or remedy misleading advertisements? Does the Government permit all such advertisements to be tax deductible? What remedy lies with the Australian people against excessive and often misleading advertisements?

Senator MURPHY -I will look into the matter referred to by the honourable senator. He asked a number of questions about it. I understand that some of the information certainly is correct and I imagine that the rest of it would be. I know that AWA has a substantial Australian element extending beyond the manufacture of television sets and into various transmission equipment items. As to what can be done about misleading advertisements in general, in the case of consumer products it is proposed that there be Australian laws to deal with misleading advertisementsthat is one of the provisions incorporated in the Trade Practices Bill which is now before the Senate- and also that there be standards for the advertising of such products.

When the advertising gets into the area of propaganda and that type of thing, it is a very dangerous area for any government to be introducing any form of supervision or control in.

I think those matters probably are dealt with much better by open conflict of opinion than by any endeavour to touch at all on the area, which is really in some sense an area of political advertisement. But I will look into the matter for the honourable senator. I assure him that misleading advertisements, insofar as they touch the question of goods and services and such matters, is certainly a concern of the Government.

Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson - Are you saying categorically that it was misleading advertising?

Senator MURPHY -No. I said that I would look into it. I have not seen the advertisements. I said that I understood from what Senator Gietzelt had put that some of the information he was giving was correct.

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