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Thursday, 14 June 1984
Page: 3027

Senator WATSON —Can the Minister representing the Treasurer advise whether there is any truth in the report in today's Australian newspaper that Hugh Morgan will not be reappointed to the Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia when his term expires on 24 June? Is this not another case of Australian Labor Party vindictiveness against anyone who has the temerity to disagree with Labor Party policy? Is this an indication that public appointments will be undertaken on the basis of Labor Party preference rather than on the basis of a person's merit?

Senator WALSH —Mr President--

Senator Grimes —Where have you been over the last seven years? What about Phil Lynch?

Senator WALSH —Was he on the Board of the Bank?

The PRESIDENT —Order! The Minister will answer Senator Watson's question.

Senator WALSH —Yes, I believe he was. I have just been reminded that the Stumpy Gully veteran, Sir Phillip Lynch, was appointed to the Reserve Bank Board by the former Government. I do not recall Senator Watson raising any objections that that appointment was based on political bias. To deal with his question proper, I do not know whether there is any truth in the story concerning Mr Morgan. It is not unusual, of course, to change the personnel on the Reserve Bank Board. Senator Watson insinuated that appointments made by this Government to boards such as that are determined by partisan political considerations. I can recall one case off the top of my head: Former Senator Bonner was appointed to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Board by this Government. Perhaps he has been disowned by the Liberal Party and, therefore, that is regarded as a partisan political appointment as well. I think that the record of this Government so far in appointments of that nature has been less partisan than that of its immediate predecessor, if not more distant predecessors.