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Friday, 1 May 1942


Senator ASHLEY (New South Wales) (Postmaster-General and Minister for Information) . - I have accepted this clause on the recommendation of the Joint Committee on Broadcasting, and I have heard no good argument to-day in opposition to the proposal. The honorable senator who has just resumed his seat has suggested that Sydney is the only city where the commission could do its work in a practical manner. What is to happen to Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth? I take it that the recommendation implies that only the central administrative staff should be located in Canberra, and the studios and audition rooms now in use in the capital cities of the various States would remain where they are to-day. Senator McBride has asked for an assurance that no alteration will be made during the war. We should all like to know when the war will be over, but it is not practicable for any alteration to take place in the near future. We have not the accommodation necessary to house the commission's administrative staff at Canberra. Even members of Parliament have had to give up their rooms in order to provide accommodation that is urgently required for other purposes. Building is now subject to priorities, and there is no possibility of a building of the kind required by the commission being erected at Canberra during the war period. If during that period some of our troops returned from overseas and required to be provided with employment, it might be necessary to start a building programme, but there is little present prospect of any effort being made by me_ to remove, the head office of the commission to Canberra.


Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - -Then why include this sub-clause?


Senator ASHLEY - Because of the recommendation of the committee that ha3 taken evidence regarding the matter. I inquired from the chairman of the commission as to how many members of his staff would be affected by a transfer of the head office to Canberra, and was informed that the number was 100. I am surprised that honorable senators opposite were also possessed of that information. I do not know whether they have been lobbying.


Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - That is not my practice.


Senator ASHLEY - I am in accord with the recommendation, but, as I have said, it is impracticable to give effect to it at present.







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