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Wednesday, 23 October 1974
Page: 1919

Senator GREENWOOD (Victoria) - I add for the consideration of the Minister that the point he makes about full time members is not, I think, an adequate response to the real point we are seeking to demonstrate. The point we are trying to show is that persons who happen to be shareholders in a small companywhich would cover a lot of the small producerswould obviously have a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in that company because they are shareholders, leaving aside whether they may be employed as consultants or in some other executive capacity. Those smaller persons, because of their indirect interest, would be excluded even though they might have all the time in the world to give to being full time members of the Commission. Yet the Bill nevertheless would allow to be members of the Commission professional directors, if you please, and persons who are quite happy to give their full time to being directors but who have a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in other firms connected with the distribution of films, simply because they are shareholders in large public companies. There is a number of large public companies in this country which are engaged in the promotion, distribution and exhibition of films. Just because a person has shares- and there may be a person who has a lot of shares- in one of those companies, he is entitled to go on the board of the Commission as a full time member whereas a small person is not. This is what the Opposition has in mind and what Senator Guilfoyle was adverting to when she explained the problems we saw in this clause. It seems fair that we either exclude all persons who have this direct or indirect pecuniary interest or we allow them to become members of the Commission and rely upon the next succeeding clause which says that if a member has an interest in any particular venture he must disclose that interest to the Minister. It is a vexing problem and I would think that if, as Senator Guilfoyle suggests, the Minister considers this in terms of the problems we see, this clause along with the other clauses might be left overnight.

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