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Tuesday, 3 December 1974
Page: 3010

Senator KEEFFE - Is the Minister for the Media aware that a 'Four Corners' segment of a program covering the first 2 years of Labor Government was shown in all States last weekend but was deleted from the program in Queensland? Was the cut in the Queensland program caused by technical reasons, or was the deletion of the segment brought about because of political pressure applied to the Australian Broadcasting Commission by the Premier of Queensland, the Honourable J. Bjelke-Petersen, because of his diminishing political support in the current State election campaign?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - I did see a report in one of the newspapers that the Australian Broadcasting Commission's program Four Corners' was not telecast in Queensland last Saturday because it related to the 2 years of the Australian Labor Government. I understand that the program was telecast in all States except Queensland. The report did say that the program was not being telecast in Queensland because if it were telecast there the ABC, on past practice and custom, would have to give equal time to the opposing political parties. It was felt that this program, which related to the history of events insofar as the 2 years of office of the Labor Government is concerned, should not have been construed as being related at the same time to the political circumstances now applying in Queensland. I can only say that that is all I know about the matter.

As the honourable senator would know, it is the Government's policy to guarantee political and programming independence to the Australian Broadcasting Commission. That policy has been rigidly adhered to by me, as the Minister for the Media, in the time in which we have been in government. I will certainly refer the matter to Dr Semmler, the Acting General Manager of the ABC, to see whether I can obtain any additional information for the honourable senator.

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