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Wednesday, 3 April 1946

Sir Frederick Stewart (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Information, upon notice -

1.   How many appointments have been made recently of press relations officers for service abroad ?

2.   How many additional appointments of this nature are contemplated ?

3.   To which departments are these officers to be attached?

4.   What are the names of the officers to be ' attached ?

5.   What are the salaries and allowances abroad in each case?

6.   What was the journalistic experience and what is the age of the officers appointed?

7.   What was the war service of each of the officers appointed?

8.   What .positions did these officers occupy immediately before their new appointments, and what were their salaries?

9.   Were these new positions advertised; if so, where; if not, why not?

Mr Calwell - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   Five appointments have been made in 1946.

2.   No decision has 'been reached.

3.   To the Department of Information; but each officer will be under the general superintendence' of the Australian Minister or other senior representative in the country to which lie is appointed and his work will be done in close association with tlie Trade Commissioner.

4.   Mr. H.C. Mills to London; Mr. H. W. Eather to New York ; Mr. W. J. H. Wilcox to Cairo; Mr: R. D. B. Mitchell to .Singapore; Mr. W. J. W. Prehn to Calcutta.

5.   London - Salary £904, living allowance £247, entertainment allowance £200. New York - Salary £904, living allowance £000, child allowance £200, entertainment allowance £200. Cairo - Salary £904, living, allowance £000, entertainment allowance £250. Singapore - Salary £808, living allowance £500, child allowance £200, entertainment allowance £250. Calcutta - Salary £808, living allowance £200, entertainment allowance £150. AH these allowances are at the normal rate for married nien with or without children, and for single men, as fixed by the Public Service Board for the countries concerned.

G.   Mr. Mills:Aged 46; has had 20 years' experience in journalism on country daily and weekly newspapers and journals with a rural interest; was for several years managing editor of the Countryman, Melbourne. Mr. Bather: Aged 42; 26 years' newspaper experience; has worked for newspapers in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane, holding positions as political writer, parliamentary reporter, special writer, deputy chief of staff, and leader writer. Mr. Wilcox: Aged 40: 23 years' journalistic experience on metropolitan newspapers in Melbourne and Adelaide; appointed in 1938 New Zealand manager for the Australian National Travel Association; before enlisting in the Royal Australian Air Force worked as journalist in the Department of Information. Mr. Mitchell: Aged 35; Bachelor of Laws Melbourne University; engaged for several years in freelance radio and journalistic work in Australia before appointment to staff of Short Wave Division, Department of Information, in 194.0 by Sir Keith Murdoch, then Director-General of Information ; is experienced radio commentator. Mr. Prehn: Aged 26; was journalist on Farmer mid Settler, Sydney, Illawarra Star (N.S.W.), Labour Daily and Daily News, and Sunday Sun, Sydney; for five years private secretary to successive Ministers for Commerce, commencing with the Right Honorable Sir Earle Page.

7.   Mr. Mills:In 1941 volunteered for service in the forces, but was rejected on medical grounds. Mr. Eather: Was Deputy Chief Publicity Censor during war; from July, 1942, to March, 1944, was Censorship and Liaison officer at General Head-quarters; served in Now Guinea as Publicity Censor and later as an accredited War Correspondent; has been issued with Returned from Active Service badge and service ribbons and is entitled to preference under the Re-establishment and Employment Act. Mr. WilcOX: Enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in 1943 as au ACI; discharged in 1945 with the acting rank of Flight Lieutenant; service included twenty months in sea rescue work in New Guinea waters; holds the 1939-45 Star and Pacific Star. Mr. Mitchell: Was classified as medically unfit for war service because of the effects of infantile paralysis contracted in childhood.

Mr. Prehn: Has no war service; as Ministerial Secretary, his call-up was deferred.

8.   Mr. Mills:Director of Public Relations, Food Control, Department of Commerce;salary £7S0. Mr. Eather: Chief Administrative Officer and Secretary of the National Film Board, Department of Information; salary £.1,052. Mr. Wilcox: Journalist, Department of Information; salary £808. Mr. Mitchell: Journalist, Shortwave Division; Department of Information; salary £736. Mr. Prehn: Private Secretary to Minister for Commerce and Agriculture; salary £070. 9.. No: special knowledge and training within the Departments of Information and Commerce and Agriculture were, in these instances, required; men going abroad, however, are being replaced by ex-servicemen who will become eligible after training for similar overseas posts. (Six returned soldiers within and outside the Department of Information have been offered positions as press attaches abroad,? but have preferred to remain in Australia in their present positions.)

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