Television Licences

Television was launched in Australia in 1956.  From 1 January 1957, television viewers were required to 5 pounds annually as well as 2 pounds 15 shillings for radio. Non-payment was a punishable offence with fines of up to 50 pounds.

Advertisement for TV Licences - The Citizen, February 13 1958
Advertisement for TV Licences – The Citizen, February 13 1958

To notify the public of their obligations, the Australian Post-Master General placed ads in local newspapers, such as The Citizen – a Strathfield local newspaper.  The advertisement warns that the Post Office is advised of all TV purchases and fines will be issued if the licence fee is not paid at the Post Office.

In September 1974, the federal Labor Whitlam Government decided to abolish radio and TV licences to perceived inequity of costs across the community and costs of compliance.  The funds raised by revenue from the licences had been used to fund the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC), because the ABC was advertising-free.  After licences were abolished, funding was provided to the ABC from general government revenues.


The Citizen, page 3, 13 February 1958

Tully, H, (n.d.), Subscriptions..where it all began, viewed on 2 May 2017,

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