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Derryn Hinch Suspended By 3AW After Breaking Election Blackout

Two days before the 1980 federal election, broadcaster Derryn Hinch was suspended by Melbourne radio station 3AW for breaking the blackout on electronic election coverage.

For many years, radio and television stations were banned from covering federal politics in the final two days from midnight on the Wednesday prior to election day. Political party advertisements were also banned. The ban did not apply to newspapers.

Hinch had consistently opposed the blackout. On October 16, 1980, with the ban in effect, he went on air at 8.30am, having earlier declared that he would break the blackout.

The broadcast had a 7-second delay. Management was happy to milk the occasion with little risk to the station’s licence.

In those days, Hinch had a daily segment called “What the papers say” in which he summarised the main stories from the daily newspapers. It was in this segment that he intended to break the electronic blackout by reading from the newspapers which were not affected by the ban.

  • Listen to the broadcast as it happened (5m)

3AW took Hinch off air but he returned the following week.

Some years later, the electonic blackout was repealed. Political advertisements remain banned in the final two days of an election campaign but there are no longer any restrictions on news and current affairs coverage of the final days of an election campaign.

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This picture was taken by Rennie Ellis in 1979. It shows Hinch with Playboy Playmate Allyson Best at the Hilton Hotel. It has nothing to do with the election blackout:

Derryn Hinch

 

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