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Wednesday, 23 October 1974
Page: 1887

Senator GUILFOYLE (Victoria) -I wish to comment briefly on the remarks of Senator Steele Hall. I think he overlooked the attitude of the Liberal and Country parties to the approval of the Minister being appropriate to the day to day functions of the Commission. The honourable senator referred to the style of organisation we have had in 'Film Australia'. If the

Minister wants to continue with Film Australia making documentary films in the way it has done, why push it into the Australian Film Commission and have it there as something which has been designed, according to the Minister's second reading speech, to encourage the film industry of Australia? We are talking about the encouragement of a commercial film industry in this country. If documentary films are to be made for the Government by the Commission they should be made by decisions of the Commission in its function within the scope of its powers and each of the decisions made by the Commission should not be subject to the approval of the Minister.

The financial arrangements for the Commission are those of any other statutory commission. It is accountable for its functions financially in the same way as any other commission, but I put it to the Committee that the Australian Film Commission will be part of communications throughout Australia. Will anyone suggest that the Australian Broadcasting Commission should be subject to the approval of the Minister. When decisions are taken within the Commission on what shall be news and what shall be done by the Commission it has always proudly been said that the ABC is a statutory commission which is not subject to the direction of the Minister or the government of the day. It is equally important if we are to say to the people of Australia that we are establishing new areas of communications in this country through the Australian Film Commission that it also should have the responsibility lying within the people who are appointed to the Commission itself. For this reason I simply repeat that the Opposition is philosophically completely opposed to the approval of the Minister which is written into the Bill.

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