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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr BEASLEY (West Sydney) (Minister for Supply and Development) . - According to my interpretation, this clause provides that persons who are to be engaged in the service of the commission shall be appointed on terms identical with those that relate to appointments to the Commonwealth Public Service. Paragraphs a, b and c of sub-clause 2 were drafted on the lines of a similar provision in the Commonwealth Public Service Act, at the express wish of the joint parliamentary committee.

Mr Holt - Aliens are allowed to join the Military Forces of the Commonwealth.

Mr BEASLEY - Unnaturalized aliens?

Mr Holt - Yes.

Mr Harrison - Provided they take the oath of allegiance.

Mr BEASLEY - It is important that the personnel of the Army shall be above suspicion, but I regard the safeguarding of broadcasting as of more importance than anything else. The honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) has stressed its importance in the light of history, in connexion with the circumstances that now exist in many countries. It is important that the broadcasting system shall be maintained on such a basis that persons employed in it shall be free from any shadow of suspicion of their loyalty to this country. There is a proviso at the end of sub-clause 2 which will enable the commission to make appointments, without examination, to positions requiring in the appointee the possession of special attainments. Such appointments will be restricted to those prescribed by statutory rule.

The honorable member for Cook (Mr. Sheehan) referred to the recent appointment of Mr.Robert McColl. This gentleman has been on the staff of the Australian Broadcasting Commission for many years. I am informed that he was with the mobile unit in the Middle East. Apparently, he has been given a post commensurate with his qualifications.

The honorable member for Denison (Mr. Beck) referred to temporary appointments. I am advised that the only temporary appointments in the commission to-day are those of men who are filling the places of officers who are on active service.

Mr Harrison - Does that apply to announcers?

Mr BEASLEY - I am advised that it does. I am sure that all honorable members will agree that the positions of the men who have gone on active service should be retained for them. Those who are occupying them in the meantime understand that their appointments are only temporary. Appointments made by the commission, under authority which it may exercise, may be regarded as permanent appointments; consequently, those positions will be safeguarded under this legislation. The clause should stand as drafted.

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