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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) .- This is a consolidating as well as an amending bill. The joint parliamentary committee specifically desired that it should be a consolidating measure, in order that it would contain every provision enacted in relation to broadcasting. It was, therefore, necessary to include in it all the existing provisions to which the committee did not offer objection. The committee did not consider the provisions now under consideration, and they have been included in the measure simply because they appeared in the original legislation. At the outset, it was necessary that the commission should have certain borrowing powers in addition to its revenue, in order that it might carry on its work. The Parliament of the day conferred upon it certain rights in relation to borrowing, but limited the amount of its borrowings to £50,000, which is not a very large sum in such a huge organization. Subclause 2 reads -

The total amount of debentures so issued, and current at any one time, shall not exceed Fifty thousand pounds.

That does not mean that the commission may borrow £50,000 at any one time ; the limit of its borrowings current at any one time shall not exceed £50,000. There is no particular purpose in retaining the provision, particularly as the commission has arrived at the stage where it is forced by government decree to invest substantial amounts in government debentures. The Minister might well agree to the deletion of this and subsequent clauses.

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