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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr FRANCIS (Moreton) .- I trust that the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Sheehan) will not press the amendment to a division. It must be borne in mind that for fully nine months a joint parliamentary committee, consisting of members of all parties, considered this matter carefully. Those who heard yesterday the speech of the honorable member for Parkes (Sir Charles Marr) will recall that he paid a glowing tribute to the chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Mr. Cleary. If that gentleman is to receive only £1,250 per annum, he will be substantially underpaid. Nobody has played a greater part than has Mr. Cleary in the success of the broadcasting organization in Australia. The committee which investigated the matter obviously believed that he is to continue the good work he has done in the past, for which he has always been underpaid. The general manager is not responsible to Parliament, but the commission is. The present body has done a very good job, which ought to be appreciated by this Parliament. Apart from the report of the parliamentary committee, honorable members ought to know that Mr. Cleary has contributed materially to the success of the venture. The normal practice is to appoint a number of directors to control an institution. The chairman of directors receives fees that are slightly in excess of those paid to the other directors. Mr. Cleary has played a major part in connexion with organization, administration, and direction of policy. He has continually kept in touch with everything. Some officer must always be available to deal with matters that arise from the operation of the stations controlled by the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the discharge of the imposing array of activities handled by the commission. Problems are always arising. The general manager needs to confer regularly with the chairman, who must be handy for the purpose. As Mr. Cleary has filled the position of chairman so ably in the past, and as the commission has functioned so successfully, the committee would be well advised if it agreed to the payment of the salary proposed. If the honorable member for Cook were to move for an increase, I should support him.

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