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Thursday, 28 November 1974
Page: 2997

Senator Mulvihill asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice:

(   1 ) How many loans or grants have been made to the Australian Book Society by the Australian Literature Board since the inception of the Board in 1952, and what were the terms of such loans or grants.

(2)   Who are the present Directors or members of the Board of Management of the Australian Book Society.

(3)   Who were the Directors or Board Members in 1966, 1967 and 1968.

(4)   Does the Australian Book Society, in regard to any recent loan made to it, have any outstanding liabilities to certain trade unions; if so, what are the details of such liabilities.

Senator Murphy - The Prime Minister has provided the following information for answer to the honourable senator's question:

(   1 ) Grants and loans made by the Literature Board to the Australasian Book Society since the Board's inception in 1 973 are as follows-

1.   June 1973: A special grant of $2,000. The Board recommended the grant because of the special, non-commercial nature of this organisation and because its activities were comparable in some respects with those of other subsidised literary organisations ( for example, the Australian Society of Authors and the Fellowship of Australian Writers). The purpose of the grant was to enable the Society to promote successfully certain aims, including the organising of literary gatherings, the providing of stimulus to new or young writers, the publicising of its activities, and meeting some of the expenses incurred in contacting scattered members.

2.   December 1973: Under the terms of its new publishing subsidies scheme, the Board agreed to offer a typesetting and a printing subsidy for one novel and a printing subsidy for another novel due for publication during 1974. The choice of the titles to which the subsidies would apply was left to the Publisher. The Australasian Book Society decided that the full subsidy should be applied to the novel 'Without Map or Compass' by F. B. Vickers. A progress payment of $2,000 was sent to the Society in June 1974 after typesetting was completed.

3.   February 1974: The Board agreed to offer the Society a subsidy for typesetting for 'An Australian Experience' by Allan Ashbolt. The subsidy will be payable on publication.

4.   June 1 974: The Board offered the Society one additional entitlement to a typesetting and printing subsidy for an unspecified work of fiction due for publication in the 1974/75 year.

5.   June 1 974: The Board paid $866.67 to the Society as the balance of a guarantee against loss offered to it by the Commonwealth Literary Fund in 1972 for The Second Step by Betty Collins.

6.   September 1974: The Board paid the first half of a $16,000 interest-free loan to the Society to enable it to revitalise its activities as a non-profit-making publishing cooperative and to extend its publishing and literary activities.

The terms of this loan are:

(a)   The first instalment, amounting to $8,000 to be paid on or after 1 September 1974.

(b)   The second $8,000 instalment will be paid between 1 June and 31 December 1975 on receipt of a report from the Society setting out details of the progress made since the payment of the first instalment (membership figures, publications, activities etc.)

(c)   Repayments will be made in the form of a deduction by the Board of 20 per cent of each publishing subsidy to which the Society is entitled from the beginning of the 1977-78 financial year until the full sum has been repaid by this method.

(d)   Repayment of the Literature Board loan is to be given precedence over repayment of loans from trade union and other sources.

The loan is being administered on behalf of the Board by the National Book Council.

(2)   Present members of the Board of Management of the Australasian Book Society are:

A.   Ashbolt M. Calthorpe J. Evans

B.   Hawke B. Leach W. Meech N. Stewart B. Treen

F.   Wheelhouse B. Whiteman N. Zusmar

(3)   This information is not available to the Literature Board.

(4)   Any details concerning the Society's financial liabilities which have been provided to the Literature Board in the context of an application for assistance are considered to be confidential between the Society and the Literature Board.

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