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Thursday, 28 April 1932


Mr HOLMAN (Martin) .- I support the observations of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. A. Green). This clause, in my opinion, is one of the crucial provisions of the bill. The committee is entitled to some explanation from the Postmaster-General (Mr. Penton) as to the direction in which he will look for the personnel of the commission. Friends and supporters of the Government's proposals have followed the Minister's guidance unhesitatingly, and have accepted his suggestions as to the powers which should be conferred upon the commission and the powers which should be withheld from that body. Honorable members, as a whole, have shown considerable unanimity and forbearance up till now, in believing the very best of all the proposals which the Minister has put before us. I am not, for one moment, suggesting that this belief was not wellfounded; but it is clear, after the debate this afternoon, that the success of the measure will depend upon the kind of direction which the enterprise receives from the proposed commission. Doubtless the Minister has in mind certain persons well qualified to hold positions on that body. I do not suggest that, at this stage, he should furnish us with their names. That would be out of the question. It would also be quite improper to ask for such, information ; but before we pass this clause the Minister should toll us what is in his mind as to the future of broadcasting in Australia. Everything will depend upon the view of the men to be appointed to the commission. Since educational work is to be undertaken by means of broadcasting, the commission will necessarily determine its natureArtistic work is also contemplated. Again the commission will determine the standards of art which are to prevail for the next eight, ten, or twenty years, as the case may be. The honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. E. J. Harrison) has suggested that the commission should comprise business men. One, or possibly two, business men might properly be appointed. Other honorable members, at an earlier stage in the discussion, urged that the country interests should not be overlooked. I agree that a representative of the country might well find a place on the commission. Another honorable member, having in view the educational nature of the commission's work, has contended that an educationalist should be appointed. No doubt such a gentleman would render good service. While the Minister may not be able to supply the names of gentlemen he might have in mind, surely he can give us some idea of the direction in which he will look for the personnel of the commission, and the resources which he will exploit in order to get the best men to guide this enterprise. I join with the exPostmasterGeneral (Mr. A. Green) in urging the Minister to inform honorable members what is in the mind of the Government before asking us to vote upon this important clause.







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