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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr HOLT (Fawkner) .- My convictions have been strengthened rather than weakened by arguments in favour of the retention of the clause. The honorable member forWentworth (Mr. Harrison) said that the personnel of the commission's staff should be kept clean, and should have the British tradition. This clause contrasts radically with the British tradition of liberalism. I am sure that the British Broadcasting Corporation is not limited in the recruitment of its talent.

Mr Harrison - The British Broadcasting Corporation is limited to the employment of British subjects.

Mr HOLT - If that be the case, how does the honorable member explain the nightly short-wave foreign language broadcasts made from the British Broadcasting Corporation?

Mr Harrison - Those broadcasts are not made by members of the staff of the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Mr HOLT - But they are announcers, and I asked the honorable member whether the administrative staff included the announcers.

Mr Harrison - Permanent announcers, yes.

Sir Charles Marr - The gentlemen that the honorable member for Fawkner has in mind are commentators who are paid a fee for each broadcast.

Mr MORGAN - The clause covers both permanent and temporary employees.

Mr HOLT - I am not convinced that that is not the position. Announcers come within the superannuation and other provisions.

Mr Blackburn - I feel sure that they would come within this provision.

Mr HOLT - Whether the employment be permanent or temporary it is service, and the clause refers to service.

Mr Harrison - I asked the Minister for a statement on that point, but I have not yet received it.

Mr HOLT - Members who support the clause as it stands have said that by its means infiltration of subversive influences to the service will be preventable. It does not necessarily follow that all subversive influences are recruited from the ranks of foreigners. "Lord Haw Haw ", who achieved a great deal of notoriety, was, if I am not mistaken, a British subject.

Mr Harrison - The honorable member is not setting up " Lord Haw Haw " as an example that we should follow ?

Mr HOLT - No, but there should be some discretion. I am prepared to allow that discretion to be exercised by the Minister who is responsible to the Government and, through it, to the Parliament. It would be insular to include this limitation in legislation which could not be altered in any way save by. an amending bill. It is reasonable to suppose that, after this war, there will be a great influx of aliens to this country. Many aliens are already here, and for war purposes, some of them will remain. We can reasonably expect thousands of people from Europe who will gladly accept the security of the remoteness of this country from the horrors that they have experienced in Europe. It may well be that they will include people with talent and administrative ability in this new form of public entertainment and education. No limit is placed on the commercial stations. They will be able to engage their staffs from whatever ranks they choose. Subversive elements, if there are any, will be able to disseminate their propaganda through those stations. By this clause we shall limit, for all time or until the legislation is amended, our capacity to engage a suitable alien who, whatever his desire to be naturalized might be, could not be naturalized until the expiration of five years after his arrival in this country. I regret that the Government is not agreeable to the insertion of the words " without the approval of the Minister" after the words "A person shall not". The proposed amendment would give discretionary power to the commission, through its recommendation to the Minister, who also would have discretionary power. The amendment would effect a welcome improvement to the bill.

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