22 November 2003

Crean attacks FTA

The federal government must include an exclusion clause in a free trade deal with the US to protect Australia's film and television industry, Opposition Leader Simon Crean said.

'I want a prime minister in this country that actually sticks up for our industry and doesn't roll over to the Americans,' Mr Crean said in Melbourne before the Australian Film Institute (AFI) awards.

'I think it's about time we understood the importance this industry has been to identifying what we are and presenting it in a talented way and in a creative way.'

Mr Crean said the government had sold the industry out in its free trade negotiations.

'It is outrageous that the Howard government is prepared to trade away that industry.

'Prepared to trade it away in the name of a free trade agreement with the United States.'

He warned that the industry was in jeopardy unless the Howard government fought for it in the free trade negotiations.

I can feel an attack on the elites who watch Australian films or television coming on as we speak. Somehow I expect it's not going to be a winner for Howard among ordinary Australians.

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