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Tuesday, 3 December 1974
Page: 3044

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - During the course of the debate at the committee stage when the Bill was first before this chamber the Opposition suggested that films made by Film Australia should be taken out of the quota for short films as expressly set out in the Bill. It was put to me that this was one amendment that the Government might be prepared to accept. For the sake of getting a Film Commission established, which I firmly believe is in the interests of the nation, I was prepared to consider and did consider agreeing to the taking out of the Bill the clause which expressly provided for Film Australia films to be included in the short film quota that would be assessed by the Film Commission. However, I had a look at the Cabinet decision that authorised me to proceed with the preparation of a Bill for the establishment of a film commission and I noted that that Cabinet decision said quite categorically- and that decision was subsequently ratified by the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party- that Film Australia films should be included in the short film quota. lt was also determined that the assistance to be given to the States under clause 5 for educational films was originally agreed to only on the basis that it be limited to projects of national importance. Under the present wording in the Bill presumably that can be ensured only by keeping such a clause subject to the approval of the Minister or subject to a direction of the Minister. There was also a provision in the Cabinet decision that the provisions in the Bill should be subject to Australia's commitments under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development code. It has now been proposed by the Opposition that those clauses be amended or deleted. Therefore the Government would regard the rejection of this measure, which I assume is going to take place very shortly because the Opposition clearly has the numbers as a failure to pass the legislation, namely, the Australian Film Commission Bill.

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