broadcasting horse racing tips broadcasting of horse racing tips: application to broadcasting stations of state prohibition of advertising of services of racing tipsters: application of prohibition to other than written or printed material: power to censor broadcasts
constitution s 51(v): wireless telegraphy act 1905 s 10: wireless telegraphy regulations 1924 regs 5, 60: policE offences act 1928 (Vic) ss 103, 121: GAMING AND BETTING ACT 1912 (NSW) s 47: LOTTERY AND GAMING ACT 1917 (SA) s 42: POLICE ACT AMENDMENT ACT 1893 (No. 1) (WA) s 11: SUPPRESSION OF GAMBLING ACT 1895 (Qld) s
The Secretary, Postmaster-General’s Department, has forwarded for advice the following memorandum:
- Several protests have been made to the Department and in the press against the action of certain licensed broadcasting stations in allowing racing tipsters to advertise their services.
- The usual form of these broadcasts is for the speaker to discuss the chances of horses engaged in the various races and to invite listeners to apply to his office for a special selection for certain races.
- The attitude of the Department in such matters, unless there is some breach of decorum, is not to object to advertisements being broadcast which are permitted by the various State laws to appear in the press.
- There have been some suggestions, however, that these talks are illegal in some States, and it would be appreciated if advice were furnished on this point.
Section 51 of the Constitution provides, inter alia, as follows:
51. The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to:
(v) Postal, telegraphic, telephonic, and other like services.
The Commonwealth Parliament pursuant to the power conferred by the abovementioned section has enacted the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1905–1919.
Section 10 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1905–1919 provides, inter alia, that the Governor-General may make regulations, not inconsistent with this Act, for carrying out or giving effect to this Act.
The Wireless Telegraphy Regulations made under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1905–1919 makes provision inter alia, for issuing licences for broadcasting and the conditions under which licences may be issued.
Regulation 59 of the Wireless Telegraphy Regulations provides as follows:
- All matters including advertisements to be broadcasted shall be subject to such censorship as the Postmaster-General determines.
- The Broadcasting Station Licensee shall, before broadcasting any such matter which is of a controversial nature or likely to cause offence to any section of the community, direct the attention of the Postmaster-General, or an authorized officer to such matter.
Regulation 60 of the Wireless Telegraphy Regulations provides, inter alia, that a Broadcasting Station Licensee desiring to broadcast advertisements shall make his advertising service available without discrimination to any person or firm.
The abovementioned regulations require a Broadcast Station Licensee to direct the attention of the Postmaster-General or an authorized officer to any advertisement which the licensee desires to broadcast and which he considers are likely to cause offence to any section of the community.
Section 103 of the Police Offences Act 1928 of Victoria provides, inter alia, that every person who sends or exhibits or publishes or causes to be sent or exhibited or published any letter, circular, telegram, handbill, card, writing or notice:
- whereby it is made to appear that any person either in Victoria or elsewhere will on application give information or advice for the purpose of or with respect to any bet or wager or any such contingency; or
- with intent to induce any person to apply to any house or place or to any person with the view of obtaining information or advice for the purpose of any such bet or wager or with respect to any such contingency,
shall be liable to a penalty.
Section 121 of that Act provides, inter alia, that every person:
who is registered as the proprietor, printer or publisher of a newspaper; or
who prints, writes, publishes, exhibits, sells, circulates, distributes, gives away or causes to be printed, written, published, exhibited, sold, circulated, distributed or given away any placard, handbill, card, writing or notice (whether published, printed or written in Victoria or elsewhere) whereby:
- it is made to appear that such person or any other person will if required:
- give information or advice directly or indirectly as to the probable result of any such race; or
- give information or advice directly or indirectly as to the betting odds on any such race; or
- any information or advice is given or purports to be given:
- as to the probable result of any such race; or
- as to the betting on any such race, shall be guilty of an offence:
Provided that nothing therein contained shall prohibit the publication in a newspaper by the proprietor, printer or publisher thereof of a forecast of the probable result of any race but not by way of advertisement or for valuable consideration.
There is also a similar provision to section 103 of the Victorian Act contained in the following State Acts, viz:
Gaming and Betting Act 1912–1927 of New South Wales, section 47.
Lottery and Gaming Act 1917 of South Australia, section 42.
Police Act Amendment Act 1893 (No. 1) of Western Australia (56 Vic., No. 10), section 11.
Suppression of Gambling Act 1895 of Queensland (59 Vic., No. 9), section 20.
In my opinion the provisions of the State Acts above referred to apply to racing tipsters who advertise their services by means of written or printed matter only and do not apply to racing tipsters who advertise their services by word of mouth or per medium of broadcasting. I do not think there is any inconsistency between the law of the Commonwealth and the above provisions of the Acts of the States.
In my opinion, therefore, whether or not any matter is to be broadcasted is a question of policy for the decision of the Postmaster-General. I do not think that any offence would be committed either under Commonwealth or State law by any person who broadcasted the advertisements in question.
The intention underlying the State Acts appears to be the prevention of the circulation of racing tips. The use of broadcasting for the circulation of such tips does not appear to be within the language of State legislation although it appears to be contrary to the spirit of the State Acts.
It is suggested that consideration be given to the question whether, as a matter of policy, broadcasting facilities should be available for the purpose of defeating the object desired to be attained by the States.
[Vol. 25, p. 941]