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Friday, 1 May 1942

Senator SPICER (Victoria) .- I move -

That sub-clause (4) be left out.

Sub-clause 4 provides that the head office of the commission shall be established in the Australian Capital Territory on or before a date fixed by the Minister. The head office of the commission is now at Sydney, and has been situated there since the commission was established. No reason has been given, and I have found none in the report itself, why the head office of the commission should be transferred to Canberra.

Senator McBride - Does the honorable senator wish to see it established in Melbourne ?

Senator SPICER - No. I am prepared to leave the head office where it is at present. However, at this stage, I shall not discuss where it should be, because that seems to be a matter for determination by the commission itself. We have appointed the commission to control national broadcasting throughout Australia, and it seems to me that that body should know best where it can most conveniently establish its head office. Consequently, I am not concerned at the moment with determining where the head office should be. If I were to touch on that point I should be disposed, with the information I have at present, to think that the head office of a body of this kind would be most conveniently situated, from the point of view of both the commission itself and also the public, in one of the larger State capitals.

Senator Collings - The policy of the Government is to bring the head-quarters of all its activities to Canberra as and when opportunity offers.

Senator SPICER - It is partly because 1 realize that the Leader of the Senate (Senator Col lings) is particularly enthusiastic about bringing everything to Canberra that I interpret this sub-clause as an invitation to the Minister to bring the head-quarters of the commission to Canberra whether or not that be wise. I do not think that we can lay down as a general rule that the head-quarters of every activity of the Government should be brought to Canberra. At any rate this matter should not be decided by a Minister who has a prejudice towards bringing everything to Canberra. I am not prepared to leave the matter in his hands. It should be decided by the commission itself.

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