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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr JAMES (Hunter) .- One would not expect such an amendment as that now before the committee to be moved by a Labour member. The principles of unionism insist that the remuneration of labour shall be raised to the highest possible level. In view of the character of those who are supporting the honorable member for Cook, particularly the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron), I wonder that he persists with his proposal. The honorable member for Barker would reduce every one to the "sack cloth and handful of rice" standard of living. The, present chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Commission relinquished a very high salary as the Chief Railway Commissioner of New South Wales in order to take charge of the national broadcasting system at an early stage of its development. He has devoted a lot of time to the task, and has raised the broadcasting service to a far higher standard than it formerly occupied. His responsibility is such that he is worth at least the allowance of a member of this House. Endorsing the sentiments expressed by the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Morgan), I would support an amendment to raise to £500 the remuneration of each commissioner other than the chairman and the vicechairman, if that were in order. But I cannot assist reduction, because I should be acting contrary to the ideals of unionism. At one time, the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Sheehan) wa3 a locomotive engine driver. His fireman received a lower salary than he was paid, although performing more arduous duties. The honorable member would not favour the reduction of the salary of the engine driver in order that the salary of the fireman might be raised. The chairman of a committee or commission has greater responsibility, and has to devote more time to the work, than an ordinary member. The chairman of this commission has practically a full-time job, but the other commissioners have -not; they merely attend meetings, whilst he is a supervisor, organizer and general rouseabout. If it be for the benefit of the organization, he does not begrudge any time or effort that he devotes to the work. Because of the respect in which 1. hold the honorable member for Cook, I urge him not to subject himself to the clean-up " that he will undoubtedly receive if the amendment goes to a vote. Se will be very sorry if he finds himself sitting alongside only the honorable member for Barker.

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