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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 573 ..

MS MacDONALD (continuing):

The outcomes of the ABA's report have not yet been finalised, but an additional licence condition has been proposed requiring a more substantial devotion of air time to broadcasts of local significance, news and information. Together with the continued financial support for the ABC and SBS, this would undoubtedly provide services of greater local interest to the ACT.

The convergence of the telecommunications, IT broadcasting and media sectors is increasing. It is important that adequate federal funding be provided to assist public broadcasting services with digital broadcasting and online technologies. Telecommunications and IT-based initiatives from the public broadcasters provide increased opportunities for members of the community, including the more disadvantaged groups, to obtain information and services through computers and television.

This access and exposure also enable members of the community to become more familiar with electronic technologies and better able to obtain and access information and services in our information society. That, in turn, allows them to participate more fully in our community.

I think that the Assembly should support the motion by Mr Hargreaves-I am pleased that all speakers who have risen today have been doing that-and send a strong signal of support for both the ABC and the SBS to the federal government. I strongly support, and I know that this government does, public broadcasting services and ask the Assembly to support the motion today calling on the Commonwealth to support the ABC and SBS triennial funding submission for 2003-06.

MR HARGREAVES (5.27), in reply: I would like to pay tribute to the collective wisdom of all of those members in this chamber who have recognised the value of the ABC and the SBS, particularly the gushing and effusive support that Mr Pratt has given to this motion. I think that his unqualified and unequivocal support for the motion and the intent that I bring to this issue is really encouraging and I shall do it again because I know that I can get his instant support.

I commend the motion to the house. It is interesting that Mr Pratt should bring up the issue of being portrayed in a particularly nasty light by an SBS program. There are only two reasons I can postulate for that. One is that he was a particularly nasty person and they told the truth, but I do not think that that is true because of his effusive support for this motion. The second one is that, like the rest of us, he will get belted in the media rather nastily from time to time. They get it wrong; nonetheless, they treat all of us with the same contempt, whether we are in the public arena, whether we are football players, whether we are politicians or whether we are real estate agents engaging in gazumping.

The one thing that was not mentioned is the fact that the ABC sets the high jump bar for standards. Mr Stefaniak quite rightly pointed to a couple of programs where the standard is actually there and the commercial broadcasters have to get over them. I wanted to put that on the record as well. I am a bit iffy about the rugby, I have to tell you. I am really upset that I can't watch Collingwood play on the ABC. My favourite channel and my favourite team don't seem to get together.

Mrs Cross: What about Stateline?

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