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Thursday, 26 September 1974
Page: 1433

Senator POYSER (VICTORIA) - My question is addressed to the Minister for the Media. The Minister will recall that on Tuesday last I asked him a question regarding the televising of the football grand final in Melbourne. I now ask: Has the Minister seen the reports in this morning's newspapers that the Victorian Premier has rejected approaches requesting his Government to supply funds to finance the telecasting of the Victorian Football League grand final? Are there any measures that the Minister can now take to ensure that the match will be telecast live to the Victorian viewers who cannot get into the ground for the match?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - I have seen the reports to which the honourable senator refers. It certainly does not surprise me that the Victorian Government finds itself in much the same position as the Australian Government on this question. I know that the honourable senator will excuse me when I point out once again that the Australian Broadcasting Commission is an independent statutory body to which this Government has guaranteed political and programming independence. Apparently also the Victorian Government adheres to that view so far as this issue is concerned. It is entirely for the Commission to decide whether it is to pay the very large sum being demanded by the Victorian Football League for this event.

The honourable senator has referred to those people who cannot get into the ground to see the grand final. I am personally very conscious of the desire of those people to watch a live telecast of the match, just as I was conscious of it last year when the VFL flatly refused even to contemplate a direct telecast of the event. All I can say is that I believe the VFL has hardly changed its attitude at all this year from what is was last year. Last year at first it refused flatly to have a live telecast. This year it is demanding a sum that is so far in excess of the sums charged by other football bodies for like rights that the ABC cannot even contemplate meeting its demands. I can tell the honourable senator also that earlier this year the ABC made a recommendation to me under section 62 of the Broadcasting and Television Act which involves my approving any expenditure by the Commission in excess of $100,000. Under the approval that I gave under section 62 of the Act the ABC certainly has replay rights of the VFL grand final even though it has not the rights for a direct telecast.

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