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Wednesday, 26 March 1941

Senator AMOUR (New South Wales) . - The bill is a step in the direction of meeting the views of the Labour party on broadcasting namely, that the control of the Australian Broadcasting Commission should be finally vested in Parliament through a responsible Minister. Whenever criticism has been levelled against the Broadcasting Commission I have felt that it should have been levelled, not so much against the commission as against the Government itself, because, although the Government disclaims any authority over the commission, in reality, the commission's actions are largely dictated by the Government. I believe that the incident related by .Senator Cameron was the fault of the Government rather than the commission. Our view is that parliamentary responsibility should not be delegated completely to any board or commission, and that all boards and commissions should be under the direction of a Minister.

It is unnecessary to increase the membership of the commission from five to seven in order to give representation to Labour. The term of the present commission will expire on the 30th June next, and, although I have nothing against any of the present members, the re-constitution of the commission would provide a splendid opportunity to appoint a Labour man qualified to go on to the commission without increasing the number. That is what the Government should have done. I trust that the bill will be passed.

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