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Tuesday, 3 December 1974
Page: 3001

Senator MARRIOTT (TASMANIA) - My question is directed to the Minister for the Media. Is he aware that at least 12 government departments or business undertakings employ advertising agencies which, judged by the present Government's definition, are foreign-controlled companies? Does he agree that it is neither right nor necessary for such enterprises as Trans-Australia Airlines, the Australian National Line and the Australian Tourist Commission to by-pass Australian owned companies? Does his ministerial responsibility enable him to ensure the use of Australian owned companies, all other things being equal? What useful comments has he to make on this matter of principle?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - When this Government came into office I learned that after 23 years of administration by LiberalCountry Party governments most placing and charging advertising agencies used for government advertising were overseas owned. I think all of them were overseas owned with the exception of two. Over a period I have taken steps to ensure that all placing and charging agencies used by the Australian Government Advertising Service, which is a branch of my Department, for the placing of Australian Government advertising are Australian owned. I am pleased to advise the honourable senator that as from 1 December of this year all advertising agencies used by the Australian Government in the placing and charging of advertising will be Australian owned.

So far as the other portion of the honourable senator's question is concerned, the policy of the Australian Government in the selection of advertising agencies is that where it is felt that the creative service of an Australian advertising agency is equal to or better than that of any foreign agency the service of the Austraiian agency shall be employed. My Department places advertising for and on behalf of Australian Government departments. Where these Government departments feel that the creative ability and service provided by the Australian advertising agencies are equal to or better than those of foreign owned agencies the Australian advertising agencies are employed. The honourable senator will know that the statutory corporations and instrumentalities are masters of their own business arrangements. Nonetheless having said that I can assure the honourable senator that I have written to all of my ministerial colleagues asking them to draw the Australian Government's policy to the attention of statutory bodies for which they are ministerially responsible and answerable to this Parliament and suggesting that where Australian agencies provide the same or equal service and have at least the same creative ability they should be used.

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