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Wednesday, 9 May 1984
Page: 1827

Senator ZAKHAROV —My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Administrative Services. In answer to a question on 2 November last, the Minister advised me that there were no female Commonwealth drivers in Australia but that new drivers were being recruited and women would be encouraged to apply . I now ask the Minister whether any women have yet been recruited as Commonwealth drivers.

Senator GIETZELT —I recall that Senator Zakharov asked me last year about the possibility of females working in the Commonwealth driving service. I think I indicated on that occasion that 442 drivers, all of them male, were providing services to members of parliament, the judiciary, the Department of Veterans' Affairs and other government instrumentalities. I recollect that I said at the time also that no new drivers had been taken on to the staff of the Department of Administrative Services since the Fraser Government came to office in 1975 until this Government took a decision to extend the driving service and made a conscious decision to invite applications generally regardless of sex.

Since my original answer, 42 drivers have been or are in the process of being recruited; 20 of them in the Australian Capital Territory in order to improve the service here; 10 in New South Wales; and four each in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia. All are expected to start before the end of this month. Of this number, Senator Zakharov would be interested to know that three females have been employed in New South Wales, two in Western Australia and one in Victoria, and an additional female has been recruited in Tasmania to replace a driver who has left. The Minister, in giving me some information on this subject , reminded me that the first female Commonwealth drivers were recruited during World War II. During the war years most of the Commonwealth drivers were females , because I presume the males were involved in the fighting Services or other essential services. When those 42 drivers take their place in the system, there will be 480 Commonwealth drivers.