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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr BLACKBURN (Bourke) . - I identify myself with the liberal sentiments expressed by the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) and the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Morgan). An amendment which would meet the desires of the honorable gentlemen would be the insertion of a second proviso at the end of sub-clause 2 in these terms -

Provided further that, with the consent in writing of the Minister, the commission may appoint to any position named in such consent a person named in such consent who is not a British subject.

That would mean that the Minister would have to approve of the appointment of any person who was not a British subject. This clause has been discussed on the assumption that we should not want to appoint a foreigner, but should want to appoint a British subject, preferably an Australian, and that a foreigner would be of no use to us. There is a difference between an artist, who is a contractor, and an employee, but I can envisage cases in which the commission might desire to have the services of a foreigner as an employee in order to organize some cultural, musical or linguistic service. If the Minister approved of the employment of such a person the commission ought to be free to employ him. I have the temerity to consider that this committee is displaying a certain amount of narrowmindedness on this subject. "We are a young community, and, like the people of the United States of America, we owe a great deal to foreigners as well as to the British race. If one reads Lyng's NonBritishers in Australia one sees what a great debt we owe to Scandinavians, Swiss, Italians, Germans and Danes. The organization on a modern basis of the British Museum was the work of an Italian exile in England, Panizzi. I do not suppose that the British Government insisted that he should remain in Great Britain for five years before it would appoint him to do that work. There is no doubt that we have distinguished musicians in this country who have been foreigners. I cannot see why the commission should not be free, subject to the approval of the Minister, to secure the services of the best men available for particular services. Probably in 99 cases out of 100 it would employ British subjects, but, if it wanted to employ a foreigner, and the Minister approved, I do not see why it should not have power to do so. I suggest that the insertion of the proviso which I have outlined would meet the wishes of both the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Morgan) and the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt).

Mr Morgan - It would be satisfactory to me. Therefore, I ask leave to withdraw the amendment which I have moved.

Amendment - by leave - withdrawn.

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