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Democrats welcome ALPs belated recognition of need for captioning.

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Senator Natasha Stott Despoja

Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats


1 June 1998






The Australian Democrats’ Deputy Leader, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, tonight welcomed the Labor Party’s motion in the House of Representative today to recognise more television programs should be captioned for Australia’s 1.7 million deaf and hearing impaired citizens.


Last week Senator Stott Despoja introduced a Private Members Bill, Captioning for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired Bill 1998, which would make captioning necessary (subject to some exemptions) for:


(i) Prime time 4:00pm to 10:30pm on or after 1 July 2000;

(ii) Each news and current affairs program on or after 1 July 2000;

(iii) Every program after 1 July 2010;

(iv) Videos for hire or sale on or after 1 July 2002; and

(v) Hire and sale of TVs able to decode signal on or after 1 July 2002.


“I hope Leo McLeay has the support of his Party and is not a lone voice on captioning,” said Senator Stott Despoja.


“The Democrats have been through an extensive consultation process to get consensus from the deaf and hearing impaired community and broadcasters for the Captioning for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired Bill 1998. There has been good will from all sides, except the old parties, so today’s commitment by the Labor Party is a welcome development.


“With today’s motion in the House of Representatives, the deaf and hearing impaired community should be able to count on Labor Party support for compulsory captioning.


“Up until today the Labor Party were reluctant to support my Bill, but today’s Motion means I should be able to rely on their support for the Captioning for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired Bill 1998. This is a great commitment and a welcome, even though belated, recognition of the importance of captioning in Australia.


“The Government has recognised captioning in its digital TV policy as a result of Democrat initiatives. The Labor party has been slow to follow and now it’s better late than never,” concluded Senator Stott Despoja.


For comment contact Senator Stott Despoja on 0418 812 589 or (08) 867 3425 (ah)


The Deaf and Hearing Impaired Community has run a postcard campaign to get the Government and Labor Party to deal with this issue: “Captions allow deaf and hearing impaired people to enjoy television. Unfortunately, not all television programs in Australia are captioned Surely this is discrimination against people who need captions. In America and Britain they have laws in place to ensure that programs are captioned As my MP I want you to raise this important issue with the Government on my behalf’.