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Thursday, 28 April 1932

Mr A GREEN (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) .- I support the amendment moved by the honorable member for New England (Mr. Thompson) and regret that the Government does not see its way to accept it. I should like to see the chairman of the board a full-time officer with a salary of £1,500 per annum as was suggested in the original bill.

Mr Thompson - My proposal is a fair compromise.

Mr A GREEN (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Directors of companies are sometimes chosen, not because of their knowledge of the business concerned, or, indeed, their business acumen generally, but because of their military or other titles. There can be no comparison between the director of an insurance company and a member of the board which will control wireless broadcasting in Australia. The Assistant Treasurer (Mr. Bruce) said that to get the right man for the position of chairman, we must be prepared to pay £5,000 per annum. I remind the committee that the British Broadcasting Corporation, with a revenue of over £2,000,000 per annum, pays its chairman of directors, who is a full-time officer, only £3,000 per annum. In return for margarine wages we generally get margarine work. That may be all right in the case of many companies; but we are now dealing with something of greater importance than an ordinary insurance company. A great deal of organizing must first be done. In that respect, the work in Australia will be harder than that now required of the officers of the British Broadcasting Corporation. Their work is now proceeding along well-ordered lines, whereas we, in Australia, will be embarking on what is largely an uncharted sea. The late Government had in mind a man eminently suited for the position of chairman, who was prepared to devote the whole of his time to the work for £1,500 per annum. There are other men possessing the necessary technical knowledge who are public-spirited enough to devote their whole time to this work for £1,500 per annum. We cannot expect them to do the work for less.

Mr Thompson - I agree that the remuneration should be £1,500, and am willing to move to that effect if the Government will accept the proposal.

Mr A GREEN (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Considering that the revenue from listeners is £403,000 per annum, it is foolish to waste time in deciding whether the salary shall be £500, £1,000, or £1,500 per annum for the important position of chairman. For the deputy chairman, £400 per annum would be a sufficient remuneration, and for the other directors £300 per annum, because their duties would be similar to those of the directors of an ordinary company.

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