Northern Ireland Assembly Flax Flower Logo

Northern Ireland Assembly

Tuesday 13 June 2000 (continued)

Dr Adamson:

The history of Christian music in Ireland in general, and in Ulster in particular, is both interesting and of profound importance in the development of both European and world civilisations. I am particularly glad that Éamonn ONeill has brought this motion before us, he being an O'Neill and Chairman of the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee.

In the early monasteries of Ireland hymnology was central to worship. Two of the most important monasteries were Movilla and Bangor. In the sixth century many of the great scholars and saints of Ireland were educated in one or other of them. Columba, who was of the house of the O'Neill, studied under St Finnian at Movilla, and Comgall of Bangor helped him in his work among the Picts of Alba - what we now know as Scotland.

In 563 Columba founded the great religious centre of Iona, which was to become the cultural apotheosis of Scotland. The followers of Columba were composed of all the peoples of Ireland, united in religion. From the Bangor monastery were also to come Columbanus, who founded Luxeuil in France and Bobbio in Italy, and St Gall, who founded a monastery and canton of that name in Switzerland. These were to be the chief centres of scholarship and religion that brought Europe, at last, out of the Dark Ages. The glory of these monks was the celebration of a perfected and refined Laus Perennis, which is Latin for perennial praise, and in singing this hymnology and psalmody continuously, day and night, they entered into a covenant of mutual love and service in the Church of Jesus Christ. Their singing has not been equalled.

Later in Ireland we had the development of the people who became known as the Ulster-Scots. In America they were known as the Scotch-Irish. Following their emigrations to America they merged quickly into the American nation, although the Ulster speech itself was to stay alive in the hill country of Appalachia and beyond, where Scotch-Irish traditional music may still be heard. Among the earliest songs were ballads of King William of Orange, so that those who sang them became known as the Billy-boys of the hill country, or hill-billies.

Rooted deep in the traditions of the British Isles peasantry, traditional music themes came to reinforce the ancient cultural divide between north and west Britain and Ireland, and south and east Britain. Transposed to America, therefore, Christian music reached the peak of its development in the southern states. Musicologist W H Williams has written

"Ireland's initial impact upon American music came predominantly from Ulster. Whatever their influence in terms of cabin and barn planning, and so on, it seems likely that the greatest and most lasting contribution of the Scotch-Irish [or Ulster-Scots] was music. And however one may define their particular religious and ethnic identity, musically they should be considered Ulstermen, for they brought with them [that particular] mixture of Scottish and Irish tunes which is still characteristic of large parts of Northern Ireland. When the great English folklorist Cecil Sharp went into the Appalachians to rediscover 'English' folk song, he was in fact dealing with people of Ulster descent."

The centre of Christian music in the United States of America is now Nashville, Tennessee. Of course, this is the epicentre of Scotch-Irish emigration and development. Therefore, in supporting this motion, I look to the cultural aspects of it, and I feel that the United Christian Broadcasters have done us a great service in promoting Christian music again throughout the world and in Ireland and Ulster in particular.

Mr Dallat:

My lecture in history does not go back quite as far as Ian Adamson's. I want to talk about the pirate radio station Radio Caroline. Older Members of the Assembly - and I must exclude Paul Berry - will recall that Radio Caroline, the pirate radio station, was broadcast from a ship anchored on the high seas, because the Government wanted to keep control of radio and did not relish the idea of people outside their influence making decisions about what was broadcast.

In those days it was not Christian music that was the problem but pop music. Today the debate continues, but much progress has been made since the day that the arresting party boarded the ship and closed poor Caroline down, robbing us of one of the most popular radio stations ever to occupy the airwaves.

I believe that we have come a long way since then, and I have no doubt that Radio Caroline influenced much of what is happening today. Today we have talk radio, rock radio and classical radio. Apart from the BBC and other national stations, we have some of the best local radio providers, and all of them are meeting the needs of their listeners.

Radio has truly experienced a revival and all thanks to a challenge from that pirate radio station all those years ago. In a way it seems strange that the broadcasting of Christian music remains the one specialist area that has yet to be reformed. People will want to listen to music inspired by the Christian message. They cannot have their station, and that must surely be wrong. I understand the concerns of Government. They have a responsibility to ensure that such a facility is not hijacked by people who have abused the word of God in the past for their own ends, often adding to people's agony rather than inspiring the true Christian message. That may be the fear of Government, but surely it is possible to put standards and controls in place which ensure that the privilege of broadcasting Christian music, and messages, is not hijacked by the ungodly.

11.30 am

I am convinced that this sensitive issue can be handled in a way which will enable those who get comfort from listening to music, inspired by messages of Christian love, to enjoy such a service. Therefore it seems bizarre that in a world driven by an unprecedented craze for communication and information there is still a ban on setting up a Christian music station. Notwithstanding the fear that it would be used and abused, surely it is possible to present a united front on this issue and call for the Government to issue a licence. I believe we should do that, while making it clear that such a service would have to reflect a broad Christian message inspired by a genuine desire to bring solace and comfort to the many people who have placed their spiritual welfare in the message of Christianity.

Pardon the pun, but I believe we have enough faith in each other to accept that the days when the Russians used radio for propaganda purposes are gone. Indeed, it is ironic that UCB have got permission from the new Russian Government to utilise AM channels formerly used by the previous Communist regime.

In asking for choice, there is no suggestion that the BBC and other providers of Christian radio programmes will not continue to make a vital contribution in this important field. Indeed, I wish to put on record my appreciation and that of the SDLP for the programmes which have been broadcast on a daily and weekly basis by the BBC and other established broadcasters. Their role in this field will continue, please God. The monopoly on Christian broadcasting is a serious infringement of human rights, and I understand that a case is currently being considered by the International Court of Human Rights. Why should we wait until a decision is made? Let the Government be certain that they can using existing legislation to ensure that only fit persons, as defined in the Broadcasting Act, can qualify for licences. Using the Broadcasting Act, the Government can ensure that the rights to broadcast are not exploited, and there is provision to impose additional licence conditions as the Government deems necessary.

Let us support this call and demonstrate that we have a vision for the future just as those disc jockeys all those years ago braved the high seas so that Radio Caroline could bring pleasure to people. I support the motion, and could I finish by saying on a lighter note that, unlike this Assembly, Christian radio can be switched off if you do not want to listen to it.

Mr R Hutchinson:

When Dr Adamson mentioned the Appalachian mountains I could not help thinking about a television programme on Sunday night, after I was at church, which was from that area. It centred on a little church where the people were actually handling poisoned snakes. I wondered if that tradition might have come from Northern Ireland also, because we have got quite a few poisoned snakes here.

It was my pleasure and privilege to host a meeting for UCB in March 1999, when the managing director, Mr Gareth Littler, some of his colleagues and many of the MLAs came along to listen to what the people had to say. I am delighted that many MLAs were impressed with what they heard, and on subsequent days they have lent their support to UCB. I am delighted that this motion has been brought forward in the House, and I am delighted to be able to support it.

I am not saying that I agree with everything that is broadcast by the UCB. I come from a Calvinistical background, and there is much in contemporary Christian music that I find difficult to understand and identify with. However, I do understand that many people do find help and solace in this type of music. I realise that there are diversities within Northern Ireland and on our island, but the UCB speaks to all of those diversities. It transcends all barriers, and the message that is sent out from this radio station has helped many people and has been a blessing and uplifting to those who have listened to it.

Like some of my Colleagues, I find it very difficult to understand all the vileness of depravity, language and actions on radio and television. Yet here is a Christian broadcasting company seeking to deliver a message that brings release, peace and satisfaction, and it cannot get the Government to give it the necessary licence. I suppose that is indicative of a Government that seeks to control people. I realise that the problems that the UCB has had stem from the last Conservative Government, but the Labour Government have continued to deny this very worthy company a licence.

I ask the Government to reconsider this and give a licence to this company so that it can continue to transmit the gospel message, a message that can change lives, a message that can help, a message that can revolutionise people and a message that can make people new creatures in Christ.

I am delighted to be able to support the motion and trust that we will not have to wait much longer for a licence to be granted.

Mr Ervine:

United Christian Broadcasters would never be called United Religious Broadcasters, for that would be a contradiction in terms almost. Those whom we seek to influence by this debate will be very taken by our virtual unanimity. They will be shocked, they will be rocked to their foundations, that the representatives of the people of Northern Ireland - some of whom on both sides believe that those on the other side are unchristian - are advocating that religious people have access to their airwaves.

I do not know the bona fides of the UCB, and I do not need to know them. All I have to know is that there is a demand to hear the word of God. I do not know whether these people are Christian or simply religious - and I think that that is a justifiable differentiation for someone like me to make. We are bedevilled by religion, yet we have not got the numbers of Christians or the sort of Christianity that we need. The evidence of the 800 years - or the 70 years or the 30 years, depending upon whose history you read - of trauma and difficulty in this society is adequate proof of that.

We advocate that the licence be granted to the UCB, but we point out to it that, as the people who will be judging whether it is wise to give a licence or not will realise, when you start broadcasting, you will be polluted by the religious ones.

They will be demanding, much as they do in politics, a better say than someone else has had. If testimonies are given, will they be those of born-again Christians or just Christians? Whether we like it or not, and whether I define right or wrong, that is a serious problem in this society. Adherence to the Word is often adherence to the interpretation of those who determine for you what the way of God is. I am minded to encourage the United Christian Broadcasters, when they get their licence, to take on the arguments that will be put to them by the religionists, because only by the outworking of the arguments going on among the religionists will we come to accept each other's existence. Like it or not, they are going to exist.

I should also like to point, with some dismay, to those issues already raised in the media, namely the debauchery and difficulties that we all, especially as parents, have to cope with. However, that is merely what we can see. We cannot see people's propensity to look for escapism, be it in alcohol or in drugs, and there has been a massive increase in the last five years in the degree to which our young people especially are running and hiding from the real world.

Nowhere, I am afraid, is the problem greater that in those areas we consider to be our Bible Belt. Belfast may indeed have large-scale problems, but many of the towns in the hinterland of rural Ulster are polluted and in severe danger. If the UCB could save just one person - and I wish it could save more - by giving young people some outlet or direction away from the debauchery in society, the granting of a licence would be very worthwhile. I wish it all the best and support the motion. I shall wait for the religious complaints.

Mrs Carson:

I was thinking of a line from a well-known folk song during the debate today. We are talking about "freedom, religion and laws", and I support the motion. The Assembly should be able to control the licensing of local stations in Northern Ireland. The present Westminster legislation - the Broadcasting Act 1990 - needs to be amended owing to the restructuring of legislation for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The BBC, admirable though its programmes may be, does not give a reasonable outlet for Christian broadcasts and gospel music throughout the week, and even the volume and the type of output on Sundays leave something to be desired.

Where a provider can introduce an additional radio channel which would have to compete with the current BBC service for an audience, this should be welcomed. It would be up to this new radio service to fulfil a need or go out of business. From what we have heard today, the UCB would serve a purpose, and in view of the call for it, it could not possibly go out of business. I am not in favour of monopolies, but it appears that, through this 1990 legislation, the BBC has prevented any new radio stations from providing a Christian music service. I should like to see a level playing field for all those who believe that they could contribute to filling this niche.

The 1990 legislation has flown in the face of freedom of expression and freedom of religion. With this new dispensation, it should now be in the hands of the Assembly to create the appropriate amendments. I hope that, once the motion is passed, something can be done to help to fill this gap in radio programming. The broadcast licensing authorities should take note of this debate and the positive support given by the Assembly - and all-party support is an indicator of the strength of feeling that the present situation cannot and should not continue.

I have pleasure in supporting the motion.

11.45 am

Mr O'Connor:

Today we have a choice to make. Is Northern Ireland still a Christian country or not? I believe that, for all its faults, it is. The choice we have to make is whether United Christian Broadcasters should be granted a licence to broadcast. The licence to broadcast does not mean that anybody is obliged to listen. People have the freedom to change channels. However, it should be available for those who want to hear it.

Many Members have talked about morality this morning. In this country morality is on the downward slope, and the media has a lot to do with it. It started on television with murders, drugs, violence, foul language and pornography. The Internet is used by people for all sorts of heinous crimes. The lyrics of some of the songs played on the radio could be described as questionable, at best.

Ian Adamson told us how monks from Northern Ireland went out and evangelised Europe. Perhaps in some small way we can start to do that again. I take David Ervine's point about being bedevilled by religion. However, my religion teaches me that God is a God of love. It also teaches me to love my enemies: I should forgive my brother not just seven times but 70 times seven. If we were to look at God as a God of love, it would make things much easier for us in this Assembly.

What we do here today will have an impact on society. It is time for society to get back to basic Christian values. Those values make us what we are, inform how we think about housing or social justice. It is about the basic Christianity that is probably in all of us. It shapes how we think about everything in which we believe. The people of this country have the right to listen to a radio station that promotes the basic Christianity that all of us feel.

I fully support the motion. I do not see how anybody could do other, and I thank the Chairman of the Committee for bringing it forward. I speak not as a politician but as a Christian who is concerned about the state of play in this country today. Anything that can be done to reverse the trend and turn the downward slide must be worthwhile. I commend the motion to all.

Mr Berry:

I wish to voice my full support for the motion this morning and for the initiative displayed in taking this case to the courts. I have expressed my concern that such violations of basic human rights by the Government are taking place in this country.

We are all aware of the 10-year struggle by United Christian Broadcasters to make available its music broadcast of Christian content, and how it has been thwarted at every turn. I wish to see the UCB supplying an efficient Christian music service to people in Northern Ireland. I will, like other Members in the Chamber, aid the organisation in its efforts to overturn the obvious intolerance of the United Kingdom's secular regulators.

I have listened to Members this morning and have been impressed. As Mr O'Connor said, this country needs to return to Christian values. There still remains an unfulfilled passion for Christian radio and inspirational music, both in Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. There is the demand, but the supply is prohibited here.

All of us are here this morning because we have been lobbied time and time again by our constituents. There is no doubt that in Northern Ireland there are thousands of people who support United Christian Broadcasters. I commend the work it has carried out over the years. This radio station has brought much pleasure to people of both communities in Northern Ireland since it started broadcasting from the Isle of Man in 1987.

While the Government have licensed the pop, rock, talk and classical radios, UCB, which is classed as a religious body, is prohibited from even applying for a national radio licence. Shame on the Government. Society is sick of television programmes portraying sinful acts. We need a return to Christian broadcasting on radio and television.

A few months ago I visited Washington DC. One thing I was impressed by was the gospel stations - the television ones included. They have an important role in the present day, when people are straying from their religious beliefs, from God and from the principles of Christianity. In America, Christian programmes are broadcast not only on radio but also on television. UCB has helped many people in this country, and further afield. I commend the work they do.

A newspaper recently highlighted the subject of chronic depression and the fact that more young people die through suicide than in road accidents in Northern Ireland. This society is corrupted with drink, drugs and other sinful acts. The Assembly could make a good start by backing this motion - as no doubt it will. We need to see Christian values brought back to this country. We are all aware of the corruption in our society. Take the issue of drugs. Young people are being destroyed by drugs. We pray that the Lord will deliver this land from all its sin and destruction.

I am here today to support the United Christian Broadcasters, and I hope that it will get a licence to broadcast its programmes on the radio. It is important that all Assembly Members support this important motion.

Mr Davis:

I welcome the opportunity to speak in support of the motion. I pay tribute to UCB for the very responsible manner in which it has lobbied Assembly Members in Northern Ireland. Assembly Members from all constituencies in Northern Ireland have given their support, as the ticks on this sheet show. That augurs well for the future. We can all work together for the betterment of the Province and the people we represent.

It is very important that we enlist the help of everyone we can to have this ban lifted. Mr ONeill spoke of the support coming from Síle de Valera in the Dáil. It is also very important that we have the support of the MPs at Westminster-and, on this, we are not without friends there. On 12 July last year-a very significant date-Edward Leigh, MP for Gainsborough, said

"It is easier to broadcast pornography than it is to broadcast religion in this country."

I am sure that we all agree. At the same time as the BBC is cutting back its religious broadcasts, the law is preventing churches from offering an alternative. Our broadcasting laws are discriminating against all religious bodies. Digital licences are available throughout the country, but religious bodies cannot apply for them. They are uniquely disadvantaged.

If we believe in human rights and in the European Convention for Human Rights, it is clear that the UCB has a just and righteous case. Article 9 of the convention states

"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion."

Another thing that Edward Leigh said in the debate in the House of Commons is this:

"There is only one Christian local radio station in London, Premier Radio. Why are there 50 religious radio stations in France, but only one in the United Kingdom? The reason is that the codes are so tight that, whereas politicians or anyone else can go on television or the radio to raise funds for charity, to make exclusive claims or to recruit, religious broadcasters are not allowed to do so. If a religious broadcaster manages to get round all the difficulties of the law, the codes are so tight that it is virtually impossible to produce an interesting programme.

What happens abroad? I have already described France. In no other country in the western world is religious broadcasting as tightly constrained as in this country. In America, there are 1,600 Christian radio stations."

There are Christian radio stations throughout the rest of the world (with the exception of about five various countries), yet we in the United Kingdom, who pride ourselves on Christianity, ban them.

I have no difficulty in supporting this motion wholeheartedly. I am gratified that it has the support of the whole Assembly.

Mr Wells:

It is worrying that I find myself agreeing with everything that Mr ONeill, the Member for South Down, has said. This is the first, and probably the last, time for such a thing to happen. However, I found his contribution very useful.

I must also congratulate the UCB on what has proved to be a very effective lobby. I am very impressed by how much people clearly know about this. There is no doubt this is the result of a very effective campaign behind the scenes to educate Members on this important issue. Perhaps there is a lesson here for the future. This is probably the first of many such lobbying campaigns.

There is absolutely no doubt that there is a huge demand for Christian radio in Northern Ireland. This is obvious from the size of the petition that was handed to the Chairman of the Committee and from events such as the recent conference in Coleraine. I understand that 4,000 people attended one Christian conference. The demand for other types of music is already met. Classic FM is perhaps the best-known radio station that provides a specific type of music and has a very high number of listeners. There are radio stations catering for country music, Irish music, folk music - you name it, and there is a station that caters specifically for it, except, that is, for Christian music. I think that this is long overdue.

This argument has been lost by default, and people are now becoming aware of the injustice which has been done to Christian broadcasters. The penny has dropped. People realise that this situation is untenable.


I suppose that Mr Mellor did not wish to inflict the excesses of American Christian broadcasting on the United Kingdom. However, the legislation is drawn in such a way that that cannot happen. The onus is on UCB to ensure that their quality is such that that criticism is never raised. I have been given, as I am sure many Members have, a copy of the UCB sample tape. I have played it a hundred times; it has been perpetually on my car stereo. I have found it to be very enjoyable, and I have noticed the extremely high quality of the music.

To be honest, I have to say that UCB's Cross Rhythms station is not my cup of tea. I cannot relate to that type of music at all. Maybe I am showing my age, like Mr Dallat. I cannot relate to this newfangled Christian rock music, reggae and all that. However, I accept that there are many thousands of young people in Northern Ireland who can. They have a right to listen to it. Neither the BBC nor any other state monopoly can dictate to the young people of Northern Ireland or to older Christian people what kind of music they may or may not listen to. It is a fundamental human right. This is such an overwhelming argument that permission must be granted.

Of course, one can listen to UCB on satellite, but I have tried that and it is not practical. Most people who want to listen to Christian music want to do so as they wash the dishes, drive the car or do other things. They want to listen on a portable radio. Clearly, a satellite dish is impractical. You cannot carry it around. Anyway, not everyone in Northern Ireland has access to satellite broadcasting. Hundreds of thousands of people cannot afford it. Therefore it is vital that we grant their wish.

I hold no brief for any particular broadcaster. The principle that applies to UCB must apply to any Christian station and any type of music. If it is of sufficient quality, there is a demand and the bandwidth is available, then it should be allowed. That is the fundamental issue. I am here not to act as a cheerleader for UCB but to enable anyone in the Province who appreciates a certain type of music or a certain type of religious conviction to have that need met, provided that standards are upheld. It gives me great pleasure to support Mr ONeill's motion. I urge the House to support it unanimously and show that this is indeed a just cause.

Mr Boyd:

Much has been said already. This motion is about freedom of expression, which is fundamental to any democratic society. Under the Broadcasting Act 1990, UCB is disqualified from holding a terrestrial national radio licence issued by the radio authority. Current Government policy may be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. This policy should be amended and primary broadcasting legislation enacted as a matter of urgency.

Christians are currently excluded from the United Kingdom's national broadcasting system. Rock, jazz, soul, classical and other musical varieties can be heard. Christians are being discriminated against. They are not permitted to own a national radio station and broadcast Christian programmes. Today, almost any minority can have access to the national media, yet Christian organisations cannot even obtain an application form.

By autumn 1999, more than 10,000 letters on this issue had been received in Downing Street and 195 MPs had signed an early-day motion in the House of Commons. A quarter of a million people have signed a petition. United Christian Broadcasters Limited has lobbied for permission to broadcast an independent Christian music radio station since the 1980s. This matter needs to be resolved urgently.

UCB is a registered charity run by 50 full-time staff and hundreds of volunteers. It runs two round-the-clock music radio stations. UCB Europe presents praise, worship and easy-listening music with bible readings and factual programmes. UCB Cross Rhythms presents contemporary gospel music for young people. These stations are non-commercial. They are entirely supported by voluntary contributions. The trustees of UCB receive no remuneration for their services.

For those artists working in the contemporary gospel scene, lack of access to the airwaves means that many of them are disadvantaged and relatively unknown. The opportunity to develop the Christian music industry is being missed and the demand remains unfulfilled. With many pressures in life and a high suicide rate, especially among young people, we need to support the motion which, through the gospel message, could bring hope for all society.

The core issue is freedom of speech and religion. This must not be lost because of Sinn Féin's political point-scoring. It is rather hypocritical of Sinn Féin Members to say that they support freedom of religion and expression when the IRA murdered Catholics and Protestants who were travelling to and from their places of worship. I support the motion.

Mr Beggs:

I too welcome the debate and the opportunity to express my support for United Christian Broadcasters and its right to broadcast in the United Kingdom. The Chairman of the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee said that a petition with 27,000 names has been presented to him. More than 250,000 people have signed a petition which has been passed to Westminster. There is widespread support for UCB throughout the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland. There is clearly no logic in the position currently being taken by the United Kingdom Government.

Let us consider the international scene. In New Zealand, three national radio networks broadcast Christian music; in Australia there are approximately 100 such radio stations; and, we have been advised, in Russia, four AM frequencies are available. Throughout the United States, such stations are widespread. The countries that have banned United Christian Broadcasters are Afganistan, China, Iran, Iraq and, of course, the United Kingdom. The UK is out of step with normal western European Christian values. There should be freedom of religious expression in the United Kingdom.

I have listened to United Christian Broadcasters programmes and found them very positive and uplifting. UCB offers an uplifting and important message in an increasingly discontented and materialistic world. I received from the Minister of Tourism, Film and Broadcasting at Westminster a letter which highlights what is currently banned in the United Kingdom. She said

"The Broadcasting Act 1990 disqualified groups whose objectives were wholly or mainly of a religious nature from holding a terrestrial national radio licence issued by a radio authority . Religious organisations could hold a satellite, a digital satellite or a radio licence, but not a terrestrial digital radio multiplex or sound programme service licence under the Broadcasting Act 1996".

If information is of suitable content to be broadcast over satellite, why on earth is it not suitable for broadcasting on conventional radio? I do not understand that at all.

As a parent of young children I try to protect them from unsettling influences. When we think about what we have seen on TV or listened to on the radio in the last few weeks or months there appears to be very little censorship in the United Kingdom. Why should the programmes produced by UCB be censored? UCB broadcasts a message of Christian hope, joy and solace, which answers the basic needs of the human spirit.

I support the motion and hope that it will be supported unanimously in the Chamber, thereby reflecting the widespread cross-community support that has been expressed.

Mr ONeill

I will begin by thanking all the Members for their wide-ranging and generous support. The Committee members in particular will be very pleased that the motion has found what appears to be general favour. I, like others, hope that it will receive unanimous approval today.

I will refer briefly to some of the points raised, starting with the scholarly contribution from Dr Adamson, in which he sketched the historical background and the contributions that people from this island, and this part of the island, made to the many different aspects of music and Christianity. It was most interesting and very pertinent. Then we had a contribution from Roger Hutchinson about snakes. That reminded me of Brendan Behan's comment that when St Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland they all went to New York and became politicians. I am not sure if either of those eminent Members was referring to that kind of thing. However, it was a good and balanced debate. There was always the danger of sermonising, and some Members succumbed a little to that, and did very well at it. Obviously they have had plenty of practice in other forums. However, it was all healthy, good and part of the mix that makes us what we are.

David Ervine expressed concern which I am sure it is shared by many Members. I have no particular brief to speak on behalf of United Christian Broadcasters, but the thing that impressed me about UCB was its comprehensive Christian approach, involving an amalgamation of all the major Christian churches. That is not only good practice for Christian broadcasting but also an example to all of us. In addition, some Members revealed some of their innermost thoughts and feelings. Assemblyman Dallat referred to his progressive age problem, and Assemblyman Wells admitted quite publicly that he is not very groovy. These useful contributions serve to illustrate the complex mix that goes to make up the membership of the Assembly.

Many Members referred to the international scene. Roy Beggs's contribution was very pertinent. It illustrated the performance of some countries which do not allow Christian broadcasting to take place. One sees the sort of league that we are in, and it is not particularly inspiring. I thank the Member for his contribution.

There are many things that I could say, but Members were generally in support throughout the debate. I thank them sincerely for their support, and I hope that there will be a unanimous decision by the House.

Question put and agreed to.


That this Assembly calls upon the appropriate broadcast licensing authorities to facilitate United Christian Broadcasters in their use of unused AM frequencies.

Adjourned at 12.15 pm.

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