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Wednesday, 20 September 1972
Page: 994

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the Minister for Air aware that a very serious position exists in this country for

Australian professional musicians because of lack of work opportunity, particularly because section 1 14 of the Broadcasting and Television Act has not been enforced by the Government? Is the Minister also aware that on 25th August last the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce, the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures and the Victorian Employers Federation provided a dinner for the former Premier of Victoria, Sir Henry Bolte, and that the band of HMAS 'Cerberus' was provided by the Department of the Navy for this function? Is the Victorian division of the Liberal Party tendering a private dinner to Sir Henry Bolte tomorrow evening, and has the Minister given approval for the RAAF band to play at this function, which will mean that a private band of Australian civilian musicians will not be employed? Will the Minister agree that this sort of function is normally outside the area in which the use of the Air Force band should be made available? In order to assist overcome employment difficulties for Australian professional musicians will the Minister review the decision at which he has arrived?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - i think it would be fair to say that I get many requests for the Royal Australian Air Force band to play at town festivals and similar functions. Quite often these requests are forwarded to me by members of Parliament. If not, members of Parliament write to me asking that I support a particular request that has been made for the Royal Australian Air Force band. Approval for the band to play at a certain function generally depends upon the availability of the band and the distance that it has to travel to the function. In the case of which the honourable senator has spoken the Air Officer Commanding, Support Command, received a request for the band to play at a formal dinner arranged in honour of Sir Henry Bolte's retirement. The request finally came to me and 1 carefully studied the request and similar requests that had been approved in the past. I approved the request, believing that it was fitting for the band to play at a dinner to honour a man who, irrespective of political opinion, has given great personal service to Victoria. I am not aware of the details about the unemployment of musicians, but I believe that I have made the right decision.

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