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Thursday, 5 December 1974
Page: 3163

Senator WITHERS (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to the Attorney-General. I ask: Has the AttorneyGeneral appointed Mr David Ditchburn to the Films Board of Review? Further, is Mr David Ditchburn the husband of Junie Morosi, a former assistant to Mr Grassby and now a member of Dr Cairn's staff, for whom the AttorneyGeneral attempted to obtain a low rental government flat in Canberra?

Senator MURPHY (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Attorney-General) -The answer to the first question is yes. The answer to the second question is yes, Mr Ditchburn is the husband of Miss Morosi. As to the suggestion about low cost rental accommodation, I am informed by Mr Bryant that the accommodation that was sought is' not low cost. May I say that Mr Ditchburn is qualified for the appointment. I have not heard the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate say that he is not.

Senator Withers - I have nor said. that.

Senator MURPHY - I heard him ask some questions yesterday.

Senator Withers - Perhaps you could give us his qualifications.

Senator MURPHY - If the Leader of the Opposition wants his qualifications he can ask for them. Mr Ditchburn is a mature person wim extensive experience in commerce and industry. He is familiar with community standards here and overseas and, in my opinion, was eminently suitable for appointment to that position. As 1 recall it, the other persons on the Films Board of Preview include a chairman who has been there for a very long time and who was connected with the film industry. One of my predecessors- I think it was Mr Chipp- appointed a long distance runner to the Board of Review. While long distance running may not seem terribly closely connected with films, persons from the community who are not film makers are needed there. Another person from the television industry was appointed to the Board by one of my predecessors.

I proposed the appointment of Professor Hammer, a psychologist, and Dr Middleton, another psychologist. I knew Mr Ditchburn and knew his outlook and in my view he was qualified to be appointed. If the Leader of the Opposition wants to say that Mr Ditchburn was not competent to be appointed, that there is anything wrong with the appointment apart from his being married to a particular person, let him say so. There is a very low payment associated with the appointment and the man concerned indicated to me in writing at the time that he did not want the payment associated with the position. If the Leader of the Opposition wants to engage in these other matters, if he wants to question the competence or qualifications of Miss Morosi, let him do so. In all that he said yesterday outside this chamber, he did not say that she was not qualified and not competent to do the things she was appointed to do in the sphere of my portfolio.

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