Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 21 May 1936

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for External Affairs) [12.35]. - I move -

That the bill be now read a first time.

I take this opportunity to reply to a question asked on the 13th May by Senator Brown in connexion with Australian publicity methods in London. At the time, I suggested to the honorable senator that this subject could be appropriately dealt with during the debate on this measure, and I promised him that I would have the matter investigated. Senator Brown asked whether I had noticed the criticism of Australian publicity methods in London, which appeared in the Sydney Labour Daily, of the 12th May, 1936. The criticism was embodied in a paragraph containing the following statement by Mr. Gordon Donkin, described as a well-known world traveller, to members of the Millions Club : -

Mr. Donkinsaid Australia House was costing a lot of money and needed great assistance. Its influence was lessened by the fact that several States had moved from the building to offices nearer the heart of London. The displays were unsatisfactory, the windowdressing 'being bad, and the photos being rarely changed. A good scheme was to show films of Australia in the6,000 schools in England, he suggested.

In regard to the statement of Mr. Donkin that the influence of Australia House had lessened because several States had moved to offices nearer the heart of London, it is pointed out that with the exception of the office of the AgentGeneral for South Australia, which was transferred from Australia House in 1935, the agencies-general of the States, which are not at present located in Australia House, are in its near vicinity, as are also the offices of the High Commissioners of Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Southern Rhodesia, the furthest away from Australia House being no more distant than Trafalgar Square. Therefore, I fail to understand how Mr. Donkin's allegation in regard to the loss of influence of Australia House owing to the removal of the offices of several States nearer to the heart of London, can be sustained. The agenciesgeneral for Victoria and Tasmania are still accommodated at Australia House; the agencies-general for New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia are housed nearby in The Strand. The Agent-General for South Australia now has his office at British Industries House, Marble Arch, London. My knowledge of London may be becoming hazy ; but I doubt whether Marble Arch is nearer the heart of London than are the places in the vicinity of The Strand.

The High Commissioner's office reports that the displays in the Exhibition Hall at Australia House and in the available windows are by no means unsatisfactory, although it is recognized that improvements could be made if more money were available for the purpose. The High Commissioner's office states, however, that more money, if provided, could be better expended in directions and places giving access to the greatest number of people, as is already done with the great bulk of trade publicity funds.

With respect to the suggestion by Mr. Donkin that it would be a good scheme to show films of Australia in the 6,000 schools in England, the High Commissioner's office reports that this matter has been thoroughly explored and, having regard to all the circumstances, particularly the difficulties of the education authorities, it was considered that this avenue of publicity is best utilized by the present arrangement under which scholars are invited to attend exhibitions of films which are arranged away from the school premises, but in co-operation with the school authorities. The High Commissioner's office cites as an instance, which is by no means solitary, the fact that on the 15th May last a display of Australian films was arranged for school children at the Regent Theatre, Sheffield, which accommodates 2,000 persons.

Suggest corrections