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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON (Barker) . - I support the amendment of the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Sheehan). Effect is here being given to one of the most inexplicable recommendations of the joint parliamentary committee. Whether a commission is of any advantage, is a moot point; I have often said that the arguments pro and con have practically equal weight. A commission of five members will not give a proper spread of representation, provide for sufficient variety, or represent a fair cross-section of public opinion, interest, and outlook. On the other hand, I have a prejudice against committee? and commissions, and rather favour one individual being made responsible for the carrying out of any given task. Committees and commissions are always responsible for division of responsibility, and they produce opportunities, which are usually availed of, for engagement in the fine Australian pastime known as " passing the buck ". Individual control of an institution does not enable responsibility to be shelved; the individual i3 alone responsible for the success or failure of the venture. Under the proposal in the bill, there will be too great a discrepancy between the remuneration of the chairman and that of the other three commissioners. A vice-chairman is not necessary. Whoever the chairman may be, he will merely be the chairman of a small committee that has been entrusted with the task of deciding general policy. One of the reasons for the partial failure of the existing commission is that the chairman has been too much about the institution, endeavouring to fill every office, from the highest to the lowest. This committee ought to state quite plainly that according to its conception, the chairman of the commission shall be nothing but the chairman, and that Parliament will hold the general manager responsible for the management of the institution. No man can do successfully many jobs. I hope that a vote will be taken on the amendment.

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