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Tuesday, 3 May 1932

Mr A GREEN (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) .- I regret that the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) has moved his amendment. I cannot believe that he has really read the clause. I know that he is a great individualist, and that he objects to governments entering into business activities of any kind. I point out to him, however, that even the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. -White), another great individualist, is not prepared to go so far as to recommend that the post office be handed over to private enterprise. That honorable member would be the last to invest money in a concern to transmit messages from Cairns to Broome, a distance of thousands of miles, for Id. a word. The honorable member for Swan is opposed to governments concerning themselves with business in any shape or form. Let the Government only govern, is his motto. I remind him that, under the tariff, assistance is given to every manufacturer for everything he makes; otherwise the manufacturers would be driven out of business. These business men do not object in coming, cap in hand, to the Government, whether Nationalist or Labour, to ask assistance through the tariff. Some honorable members opposite seem to see in this proposal another attack on private enterprise. It is nothing of the kind. One can hardly escape the belief that some honorable members are seeking to wreck the bill. They have said that national broadcasting by A class stations is inferior to B class broadcasting. I do not agree with them; but, at any rate, they appear to be doing their best to prevent any improvement taking place in A class broadcasting. They have repeatedly quoted the actions and constitution of the British Broadcasting Corporation, and held it up as something eminently safe and sound, which we could not do better than imitate. I have here a copy of the constitution of that corporation, from which I quote the following: -

The objects for which the corporation is established and incorporated arc . . .

To do all such other tilings as the corporation may deem incidental or conducive to -the attainment of any of the objects or the exercise of any of the powers of the corporation.

The clause to which the honorable member for Swan objects is as follows: -

Subject to this act, -the commission may do such acts and things as it deems incidental or conducive to the proper exploitation of those things which may be beneficial to broadcast programmes, but shall not engage in any subsidiary business which, in the opinion of the Minister, is not desirable or necessary for the purpose for which the commission was established.

That clause is, in all respects, similar to the provision I have quoted regarding the British Broadcasting Corporation. There' are in existence in some countries laws which prohibit members of legislatures from voting on matters in which they are themselves personally interested. It would be a good thing if there were such a law in this country. Perhaps there would not then be so much obstruction of the business of Parliament whenever the provisions of any proposed legislation cut across individual interests.

Mr.White. - I rise to a point of order. The remarks of the honorable member are grossly offensive. The honorable member said that any member whose personal interests were affected by this bill should not be permitted to vote on it. As I was the last speaker, he may have been referring to me.

Mr A GREEN (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - I assure the honorable member that I was not referring to him.

Mr White - I am in no way interested in the wireless industry, and I wish to make that clear.

The CHAIRMAN - I have been listening very carefully, and I do not think that the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. A. Green) directed his remarks to any honorable member in particular. In any case, I remind the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) Flint he was not the last speaker.

Mr A GREEN (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - As I have pointed out, the commission may not engage in business or subsidiary enterprises withqut the consent of the Minister; but, if the amendment of the honorable member for Swan were carried, and the commission could not in any circumstances embark upon such activity, its usefulness would be considerably curtailed. This provision is entirely safe, and honorable members run no risk in agreeing to it.

Mr Maxwell -Would I be in order in moving that all the words after " broadcasting " be omitted ?

The CHAIRMAN - It would be necessary for the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) temporarily to withdraw his amendment.

Mr Gregory - I agree to do so.

Amendment - by leave - withdrawn.

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