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Wednesday, 4 November 1970

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Opposition does not oppose the passage of these Bills, but for the purpose of the record I shall deal with them seriatum during the course of my remarks. The first measure with which I shall deal is the Australian Film Development Corporation Bill (No. 2) which provides for the insertion of the following new sub-section (1.) in section 8:

For each day on which a member attends a meeting of the Corporation, he shall be paid -

(a)   in the case of a member being the Chairman -

(i)   If the duration of the meeting is not less than 3 hours - Forty dollars; or

(ii)   if the duration of the meeting is less than 3 hours - Twenty-five dollars; or

(b)   In the case of a member not being the Chairman -

(i)   if the duration of the meeting is not less than 3 hours - Thirty-five dollars; or

(ii)   if the duration of the meeting is less than 3 hours - Twenty dollars.

I understand that these are the fees payable on a daily sitting basis to part time statutory office holders who do not receive an annual salary. I note that proposed new sub-section (1a.) provides:

The last preceding sub-section does not apply in relation to a member who -

(b)   is an officer of, or is employed by, an authority of the Commonwealth and is required by the terms of his employment to give the whole of his time to the duties of his employment.

The members of the Film Development Corporation are Mr John Darling, who is the chairman; Mr R. S. Elliott, who is otherwise the General Manager of the Commonwealth Development Bank of Australia; Mr T. S. Duckmanton, Australian Manager of the Australian Broadcasting Commission; Mr D. E. Brown, who is from the Australian News and information Bureau; and Mr. B. Jones who is a member of the Australian Council for the Arts.

I just wish to make one short observation on this Bill before 1 deal with the oilier Bills, lt will be recalled that when the original Bill was first being debated in this Parliament we of the Opposition moved that people with a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in the business of film making or film exhibiting should be eligible for appointment to this Corporation. Of course, the Government did not accede to our amendment. Throughout the world today, as 1 have mentioned previously, what is known as the cassette revolution is taking place. I referred to it in a speech I made in this Parliament a month or two ago, and I also mentioned it during the Estimates debate. A lot of other publicity has been given to it in recent times. As part of the electronic age people will be able to tape a record or a programme that they wish to see at any time by the use of a piece of equipment which is not costly, lt is just as easy as going to a library and taking out a book. There will be a real revolution in its effect on feature film production and the television industry, lt will have a tremendous impact on the entertainment habits of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Australians. lt will have a great economic effect on people engaged in the motion picture industry also, particularly those who run theatres in country towns. Already these people are having some difficulties in connection with the R classifiction of films. 1 have made submissions already to the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) in this direction. In short, the problem is that the trend abroad these days is to produce R classification films rather than general exhibition films. This trend will very much limit the type of programme that can be shown and will attract customers, particularly in country areas. I will not weary the Senate with a dissertation on this matter at this stage by setting out the many problems ahead of the industry. I. merely suggest that the Government should give close consideration to the appointment to the Corporation of a representative of exhibitors, particularly country exhibitors. Of course, we of the Opposition also should like to see representatives of the trade unions involved in the industry on the Corporation. But I suppose the opening up of that subject at this stage could provoke a wide ranging and con troversial debate. As 1 have said, the Opposition does noi oppose the passage of the Australian Film Development Corporation Bill.

The next Bill before us is the Export Payments Insurance Corporation Bill. This Bill relates to the salaries of the Commissioner and an Acting Commissioner of the Export Payments Insurance Corporation. The Commissioner is to be paid under this Bill at the rate of $16,931 a year. 1 understand that this is commensurate with the salary payable to the Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board and the Chairman of the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation. The Opposition does not oppose the passage of this Bill but, as was pointed out in another place, the salary set out is some $7,500 more than that payable to a back bench member of the Parliament.

The next Bill before us is the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation Bill, lt relates to the salary payable to the Assistant Directors of the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation who, under the terms of the Bill, are to be paid at the rate of $15,592 a year. The remuneration of the Director of the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation is set out in the Bill as being at such a rate and with such an annual allowance, if any, as the Parliament provides. I understand the salary for the Director has to be fixed when he comes into office in a sole capacity. I take advantage of this Bill to pay tribute to the services that have been rendered to Australia by the Chairman of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority, as it was called, Mr Howard Dann. Australia has been indeed fortunate to have had men like Sir William Hudson and Mr Dann at the helm of this great and world recognised organisation.We all know the tremendous engineering, administrative and organisational capacity of Sir William Hudson in the early days of the great Authority. Mr Dann to his great credit and with distinction to Australia has carried on the task in an equally efficient manner. All Australians must be indebted to the great service that he has rendered in his capacity of Chairman to the Australian nation.

The final Bill of the 4 which have been mentioned is the Stevedoring Industry (Temporary Provisions) Bill (No. 2) 1970. In this Bill provision is made for the salary of the Director of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority to be fixed at $11,822 a year and for an allowance to be paid to the Director as prescribed. When the Senate amended the original legislation we made a requirement that Parliament should determine the salary payable. Now the salary rate is being fixed. I understand that the amount involved does not come out of Consolidated Revenue. The Senate also required that allowances for the occupant of the position would be fixed by way of prescription. This means that a regulation has to be made to say what, if any, travelling allowyance should be paid and what that amount might be. Of course such a regulation is capable of being disallowed.

For the life of me 1 cannot understand why the Government has chosen to award a salary to the Director of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority which is much less than that payable to the Commissioner of the Export Payments Insurance Corporation. After all the person occupying the position of Director of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority will be responsible for the maintenance of industrial peace on the Australian waterfront. Frankly I do not think that the amount which has been determined by the Government and which is provided for in this Bill, $11,822 a year, is commensurate with the enormous responsibility that that person will have to undertake when one considers, understands and appreciates ° the industrial anomaly resulting from a comparison of like with like. However the Australian Labor Party does not oppose the Bill. I suggest the Government should look closely at the rate of salary set out in this legislation having regard to the comparable salaries payable to the office holders named in the previous 3 Bills. As I have said on behalf of the Opposition it does not oppose the passage of the 4 Bills. We hope that they will have a speedy passage.

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