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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) .- The joint parliamentary committee made what it considered a balanced recommendation in respect of the remuneration of the commissioners, and placed a much higher value on the services of the chairman, for the obvious reason that he has to discharge many duties which other commissioners have not to discharge. He has to be in close touch with Ministers, and in almost constant consultation with the general manager of the organization, and he accepts responsibility for every action taken by the commission or any of its officers. The proposed remuneration is an increase upon the present payment; in the opinion of some honorable members, the increase is too great. The responsibilities of the chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Commission are also increasing with the passage of time. Although comparisons are odious, if we care to make them we shall find that the chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, when in receipt of the proposed remuneration, will not be overpaid in comparison with the holders of similar offices in other parts of the British Commonwealth of Nations. The chairman of the board of governors of the British Broadcasting Corporation receives £3,000 a year, and all the other governors receive £1,000 a year.

Mr Jolly - The revenue of the British Broadcasting Corporation is £3,000,000 annually.

Mr CALWELL - It is true that, because of larger population, the revenue of the British Broadcasting Corporation is far greater than that of the Australian

Broadcasting Commission. But I point out to the honorable member for Lilley that Australia has a much larger area than England, and has far greater difficulties to face. After all, we have a population of 7,000,000, which holds 3,000,000 square miles of territory. Generally, the problems which confront the Australian Broadcasting Commission have no counterpart in England, which in comparison with Australia is a pocket handkerchief allotment. We should not make comparisons of revenue without taking into consideration all the geographical and other difficulties that are associated with broadcasting in Australia. I am not enamoured of the proposal of the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Sheehan), because its object is to level down, not to raise, the remuneration. It rests on the false premise that all members of the commission have equal responsibilities and equal obligations. If that were so, the original act would not have differentiated, as it did, in favour of the chairman. The joint parliamentary committee has merely continued a desirable differentiation, and has recommended an increase of the remuneration of the chairman and other commissioners because of their additional responsibilities.

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