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Thursday, 19 May 1960

Mr STEWART (Lang) .- I regret having to speak to the motion for the third reading of the bill but there are a couple of points which I want to bring to the notice of the Postmaster-General (Mr. Davidson) in relation to the staff of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. First of all, I would like him to consider, in the course of the next few days, whether he will see that the staff of the Australian Broadcasting Commission is made permanent. I understand that there is a great number of temporary and auxiliary staff employed by the commission at the present time. If temporary officers are appointed to higher positions, the permanent officer has no right of appeal. I feel that that position should be examined. If a man is to be employed by the commission he should be put on a permanent basis. If this suggestion cannot be accepted, then I suggest that if a temporary employee is upgraded, so that he is placed above a permanent employee, the permanent employee should have the right of appeal to the Appeal Board. I think all outside appointments by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board should be tabled in this Parliament, as I understand is required in the case of Public Service appointments. 1 would like the Minister to consider these two points, because it is of paramount importance that staff relations in the Australian Broadcasting Commission be cordial. The commission has done a remarkable job for Australia in the television and broadcasting fields. It is perhaps the only radio or television organization that endeavours to raise the cultural standards of Australia, and if the employees of the commission are dissatisfied with their employment, then the efficiency the moderation and the impartiality of the commission will deteriorate. I ask the Minister sincerely to consider these suggestions. I realize that it is possible that he does not know about these matters, but I ask him to have a look at them and to do something about the posiion, so that the Australian Broadcasting Commission can continue to give the same high standard of service that it has given in the past, and so that staff relations may remain satisfactory. In this way the commission can continue to do everything possible to raise the standards of radio and television services.

Friday, 20 May 1960

Mr. DAVIDSON(Dawson - Postmaster-

General) [12.2 a.m.]. - I want to reply very briefly to the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart). He suggested that I did not know very much about the conditions of employment in the Australian Broadcasting Commission. I think I do, because I have made some study of them. I agree entirely with the honorable member that it is highly desirable that the employees of the commission should work under conditions with which they are fully satisfied so that they may be able to give of their best. But the reason why I rose to speak is to tell the honorable member that the conditions that have been written into the legislation, and which I believe will improve the position of employees generally, have been adopted at the request of the Australian Broadcasting Commission itself.

The commission wishes to provide the best salaries and conditions of employment that it can devise for its employees, and it has requested that these provisions be incorporated in the legislation. The honorable member has asked me to consider the various matters he has put forward in the last few minutes, and to try to ensure that everything that can be done will be done towards providing the best conditions of employment for those who serve the commission. Of course I shall be glad to do that, and I know that in doing so I shall have the co-operation of the members of the commission.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a third time.

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