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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr SHEEHAN (Cook) .- I consider that the amount proposed to be provided for the remuneration of the commissioners is to be distributed inequitably. Five commissioners are to be appointed. It is proposed that the chairman shall be paid at the rate of £1,250 a year.

Mr Francis - And he will be underpaid.

Mr SHEEHAN - The ViceChairman is to be paid at the rate of £500 a year, and each of the other commissioners at the rate of £300 a year. The Joint Committee on Broadcasting recommended that all these commissioners, including the chairman, should do work of exactly the same description. I cannot understand why the chairman should receive more remuneration than the other members of the commission, seeing that none of them is supposed to be on more than part-time duty. Therefore I move -

That, in sub-clause (1.), paragraph (a), the words " One thousand two " be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word "six" and in paragraph (c) the word " three " be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word " five ".

The effect of this amendment would be to give the chairman £650 a year, and the other members of the commission £500 a year. This would not require an increased appropriation; it is merely a splitting up of the same amount of money in different proportions. At present, it is proposed that three commissioners shall receive only £6 a week each, and it is impossible to live in Canberra on £6 a week.

Mr Francis - The members of the commission will not reside in Canberra.

Mr SHEEHAN - The bill provides that Canberra is to be the administrative centre for the commissioner's operations.

Mr Francis - Yes, but the commission will meet here only once a month.

Mr SHEEHAN - The three commissioners who receive only £300 a year will feel that they are the "bob-tail" of the show, while the chairman, who receives £1,250 a year, will want to dominate it. However, it is provided that decisions shall be reached by a majority vote, so that the three members on £300 a year each will be able to outvote the chairman and deputychairman, who are to receive higher allowances. Therefore, I propose to place them more nearly on a level, so that all members of the commission will feel that they are part of the team.

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