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Thursday, 19 May 1960

Mr WARD (East Sydney) .- The honorable member for Canning (Mr. Hamilton) has missed the point which was raised by the honorable member for Kingston (Mr. Galvin) with whom I join in relation to this matter. I think honorable members will recognize that over the years the practice has grown up of the Liberal Government using boards of this kind to reward party hacks for services rendered. Evidently, they are not full-time duties, although I should imagine that if a member of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board were doing the job which the public believes him to be doing, he would be fully occupied. If he is to be distracted from his duties by having outside interests and employment, the importance of his position and the time which he could devote to it would be minimized.

The honorable member for Canning evidently looks down his nose at any one who has an occupation of which he does not approve. I do not think there is anything dishonorable about a man having the occupation which the honorable member described as swinging a bag at a racecourse because no one knows what lies ahead of him in this life. Sometimes men of great ability have been obliged to undertake that kind of occupation. If the honorable member had not been fortunate enough to gain selection as the County Party candidate for the Canning electorate, he might have been working for the local council. But he would not have been any less a good citizen because he was working for the local council. The matter of opportunity in life must always be kept in mind. There are many men on the Labour side, and I have no doubt on the Liberal side also who, because they were afforded the opportunity to come into Parliament, were able to display many of the abilities which they possess and which would have been unheard of if they had not had that opportunity.

I agree with the honorable member for Kingston. I do not think that the Minister has confided in us. There has been too much of a tendency to regard appointments to boards of this kind as a reward for people who have given service to the Government. Even from what the Minister has said, it appears to me that the members of the board have time to undertake the outside activities to which the honorable member for Kingston has directed attention. We ought to be told what the functions of the board are, and what work it is actually performing. If it were doing the task that it should be doing in the interests of the Australian community, it would be occupied full-time and the members should devote their full time to it. In addition, the Government should ensure that the members of the board receive appropriate remuneration for their services. That is the only way to get an effective Australian Broadcasting Control Board, and I hope that the Government will take notice of the comments of members of the Opposition.

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