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Wednesday, 23 October 1974
Page: 1863

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -The Minister for the Media will be aware that the Deputy Prime Minister has alleged that the Australian Press is attempting to bring about the downfall of the Labor Government. I ask whether he recalls any Labor spokesman complaining about biased and unfair political reporting in the months preceding Labor's election win in 1972. Does the Minister see the Press as collectively and consistently biased in political reporting or is it accurate to say that Press reports and comments in the main are clear reflections of good or bad government?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - I can recall instances of members of the present Government complaining on one or two occasions about misreporting, in the months preceding the 1972 election. So the answer to the first question is yes-

Senator Drake-Brockman - You must have a longer memory than most.

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - I can also well remember the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate complaining bitterly at that time about the bias of the Melbourne 'Age' and wanting to refer a matter concerning ethics to the Australian Journalists' Association. I remember him referring at length to the anarchists, the left wingers, the communists and the neo-communists in the employ of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. I also recall him referring to officers of the ABC as being members of the Marcusian Left. I suppose that while there is a Parliament and while there is a Press concern will always be expressed by people as to the manner in which matters are reported either by the electronic or the print media. At the present time however I have directed the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to conduct a public inquiry into the alleged suppression of news by certain sections of the electronic media. Pending receipt of that report, I do not intend to comment any further on the honourable senator's question.

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