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Tuesday, 21 May 1985
Page: 2247

Senator PETER RAE(5.05) —I did refer to a number of other potential conflicts of interest during Estimates Committee C proceedings. Answers have been given. Perhaps between now and the next Estimates Committee hearings some consideration could be given to whether there are or are not conflicts of interest in the matters I have raised and whether a policy statement should be made publicly available on what constitutes a conflict of interest in contracts between members of the Board and the ABC for the provision of a variety of services, either directly or indirectly, for example in relation to films. I take it no further than that at the moment; I simply extend that request and hope that it may be taken into account.

The next matter I wish to refer to-I will be as brief as I can in relation to this-is the Special Broadcasting Service's recent advertisement for an executive director. The position was widely advertised, and among other things the advertisement contained the statement:

To be eligible for appointment applications must be Australian citizens, however applicants who have permanent resident status may be offered fixed-term employment pending the granting of citizenship.

It is noticeable that these conditions applying to the position of SBS Executive Director and the other recently advertised job with the SBS, that of Director of News and Current Affairs, are not conditions which apply to the very senior positions at the ABC-for instance, the Managing Director and the Director of Television News and Current Affairs. Is there any Government policy in relation to this? Is it considered that the nation's multicultural channels require Australians at the helm but the nation's broadcasting service does not? I further ask: Has there been any change of policy since the appointment of the present senior officers of the ABC including the Managing Director? If that position is readvertised, perhaps because of the present Managing Director walking under the proverbial bus, would there be a similar requirement to that applying to positions in the Special Broadcasting Service; that is, that the applicant must be an Australian citizen, though a non-citizen might under special circumstances be offered fixed term employment pending the granting of citizenship.