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Thursday, 29 October 1964

Senator PALTRIDGE (Western Australia) (Minister for Defence) . - I shall deal first with Senator McClelland's question about the increase in the number of first assistant commissioners and assistant commissioners in the Public Service Board. I am informed that the actual increase in positions is only four because, of the total of 15 positions now shown, 1 1 represent positions which have existed for a number of years but which have recently been redesignated. The four new positions occur as follows: (a) In the Management Service Division, to cope with the considerable development within the Service in automatic data processing, industrial engineering and like activities; (b) in the Arbitration Division, where the number of claims by staff associations has increased considerably in both number and scope; (c) in the Developmental Division, which is at present involved in extensive studies and research into the salary classification structure of the Service as a whole; and (d) in the Conditions and General Division, to cope with the increased work flowing from occupation with high level parliamentary and other committees, statutory authorities with which the Board is concerned, and association claims affecting general conditions of service other than salaries. That is the explanation of what at first appears to be a very large increase. I think it is quite a satisfactory explanation.

Senator McClellandalso addressed himself to the subject of the Australian Elizabethan Trust. I am not familiar in detail with the work of this Trust, although as one of the community I frequently come in contact with the plays and other entertainments that the Trust presents to the public. I have formed the view myself that, by and large, the Trust is doing a pretty fair job. I recognise that in matters such as this opinions will vary, lt is a healthy sign that the work of the Trust is noted and criticised. I think that nothing but good can come from a sharpening of public opinion on this type of endeavour. Whether one likes or does not like the productions of the Trust does not seem to matter very much if critical comment has the effect of raising the standard of the work the Trust undertakes. This sort of public interest is a good thing. I will certainly take the opportunity to direct to the attention of the people who are most interested in this subject the comments that have been made.

I am informed that it is quite erroneous to compare the Australian Elizabethan Trust with the Canada Council. The Canada Council, I am advised, is not in any sense parallel with the Trust. The Canada Council, like the British Council, is a monolithic art group which covers everything. The Commonwealth Government's assistance to the various arts flows through many bodies, including the Commonwealth Literary Fund - of which we spoke earlier this evening - the Art Advisory Board and the Humanities Research Council. All of these bodies receive support, but not through the Australian Elizabethan Trust.

The last query raised by Senator McClelland related to expenditure on Australian works of art in Australia and overseas. He commented on the increase in the estimate this year. Provision is required to meet the cost of exhibitions of Australian art both overseas and in Australia, and of exhibitions from overseas which are circulated throughout the Commonwealth. In 1964-65 provision has been made to finance the following: The Sao Paulo Biennial 1963, an Australian exhibition in New Zealand, Australian Painting Today, a major exhibition in Japan and an exhibition in Australia of recent Australian sculpture. Expenditure in 1963-64 included expenditure in respect of the following exhibitions: Tate Gallery Exhibition, London; Commonwealth Art Today exhibition, London; exhibition of Australian arts in South Africa; Paris Biennial 1963; Australian Painting Today; and an Australian exhibition in New Zealand.

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