There is almost double the likelihood of having two cranks on a Board of nine than one on a Board of five. It is a question of mathematical calculation. If the cranks are there they are bound to show themselves. Reference was made to the question of attendance. It is going to be just as easy, in fact easier, to get four out of five rather than seven out of nine. In my opinion it will be easier to get four out of five rather than seven out of nine. Senator Brown adverted to the circumstance that a Board of nine would inspire greater confidence in the public. Now, there are only two matters in which a Board of nine would inspire greater confidence than a Board of five: one is by reason of the fact that nine is a greater number than five, and the other is by reason of the fact, as Senator MacKean pointed out, that a Board of nine should be composed of representatives of various interests, and that it should be constituted of representatives of various phases of life. Take the first point: it is the first time that I ever knew Senator Brown to lay such stress on and to admit the superiority of quantity over quality, and I take it that what should be aimed at in setting up a Board of Censors should be to get the right type of man rather than a great number of men. In a tug-of-war team there are eight men pulling, all contributing their weight, but it is an entirely different thing where the pull of each does not contribute to the total, and in this the pull exercised by the nine men would not contribute in any way to the total. It is the quality of the men and the general reading, perhaps, in which they have indulged, the sound judgment, and above all the plain commonsense that they can bring to bear on the matter that will count. That is what we are looking for—the quality of the men rather than the number of the men who will contribute to the examination of these books and periodicals. Nine could only mean the other thing, and that is a representation of various political and sectarian interests, and all the rest. If we want this Board of Censors to be really ineffective, to become a debating society, to raise extraneous matters, not to do the job for which it is constituted, then we will set up a Board consisting of representatives of the various sections.
That is the very thing which should never be mentioned and which should be completely eliminated. If we cannot appoint members who will do the job, who will care about public opinion, who will not be swayed by resolutions from county councils and other local bodies, then away with it. There is one way of gaining public confidence and getting down to the job, and that is by selecting the right men. If you get the right men, men who are competent, it does not matter whether you have five or nine. As Senator O'Farrell says, there must be undoubtedly greater difficulty in getting nine men of the right type than there will be in getting five. There is always difficulty in getting a greater number of the right type than in getting the lesser number. That is an axiom in life from which there are very few, if any, departures, and there is no departure in this instance.
In the second place, if you constitute this a Board of a large number it will undoubtedly make for delay. I do not know what is in the Minister's mind, or whether, when regulations will be drawn up in the case of books, one book will be given to each member. I will be interested to know what the Minister for Finance will have to say when he comes to consider the cost. It may be that one book will have to do the rounds. There is no doubt that nine will be a little cumbersome. Undoubtedly in the aggregate it is going to make for delays, and I do not think that delays would be justifiable in this instance. A suggestion was embodied in the compromise proposal, which Senator O'Farrell indicated, that there might be a policy of rotation of groups relieving each other. I think there is one thing we should aim at in respect to censorship, and that is uniformity, setting up a standard of censorship and, above all, having the same men on the job most of the time. Do not bring in one type of man one time and another at another time. We should aim at standardisation, at some uniformity in method and in judgment. In the next place, there is this question of what I might call the diffusion of responsibility. If you have nine men on a Board it is perfectly logical to assume that they will not feel the responsibility thrown so much on their shoulders as would be the case with a Board of five; five men would be right down to the job; they would give more care and attention to the job they have on hands, and I think a Board of five in that respect would be much better and should be definitely preferred to a Board of nine.
Then there is the question of cost. The cost will be very great. The Minister says that the members of the Board will be unpaid, but certainly the least I would expect from the Minister is that the railway fares and travelling expenses of members should be paid, and that, if they are detained over-night in the city, they should get some allowance to cover out-of-pocket expenses. There are various methods by which money could be spent. There is no doubt that a Board of nine will be more costly than a Board of five. Then there is this question of setting up a debating society, men representative of various classes, and divided on the social, religious, political or economic lines. If these lines of difference ever appear, then I think the effectiveness of this Board will simply vanish. I strongly support the amendment that the Board should be constituted of five, instead of nine, and that it should revert to the original position.