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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr SHEEHAN (Cook) .- I approve of the amendment foreshadowed by the honorable member for Bourke, but I draw attention to another point in the clause. Sub-clause 8 reads: - (8.) The general manager of the Australian Broadcasting Commission constituted under the Australian Broadcasting Act 1932-1940 and all other officers and servants of that commission holding office, or employed, in the service of that commission immediately prior . to the commencement of this act, shall be deemed to have been appointed by the commission under this section as general manager, officers and servants, respectively.

I gather from the report of the joint committee that it considered that the commission was considerably over-staffed, particularly in its central office.It therefore recommended that a suitable body should be appointed to inquire into the staff position. Will the Minister inform me whether it is proposed by the Government to appoint a committee to make the suggested investigation ? Unless that be done, all the present members of the commission's staff will become permanent employees immediately upon the passage of this bill. Another point in relation to the commission's staff deserves some attention. I understand that the six most highly paid officers of the commission, apart from the general manager, are not the managers in the respective States although they may be persons who are quite competent to do the work that devolves upon them. There is, I believe, a federal production manager and there are superintendents or directors of one kind and another who are not doing executive work in the normal acceptation of the term. Only a fortnight ago the A.B.O. Weekly reported that a Mr. Robert McCall had been appointed acting federal superintendent for Australia. I take it that that is a rather important office, but if this clause be passed in its present form Mr. McCall will automatically become a permanent officer of the commission, and will not be subject to the provision requiring new officers to serve a probationary period.

Sir Charles Marr - Mr. McCall has been on the staff of the commission for a number of years. He has been in the Middle East and has recently returned. The A.B.C. Weekly announced that he had been promoted.

Mr SHEEHAN - As the joint committee indicated clearly that it was dissatisfied with the staff position of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and recommended the appointment of a special committee to investigate the position, I hope that" the Minister will indicate clearly that such a body will be appointed.

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