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Wednesday, 21 September 1994
Page: 1033

Senator McGAURAN —I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

  That the Senate—

  (a)notes that:

    (i)Commonwealth public servants deemed as `stressed' and on leave under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988:

      (A)cost $24 308 421 in the 1992-93 and 1993-94 financial years,

      (B)increased from 1 271 to 1 615, an increase of 344 or 27 per cent, in this period, and

      (C)averaged 19 weeks leave in the 1993-94 financial year, an increase of 4 weeks from the previous year, and

    (ii)295 weeks, or almost 6 years, is the record length of time a public servant has been on continuous stress leave;

  (b)recognises that self-employed business people such as farmers do not enjoy similar access to stress leave pay-outs, and yet often endure amounts of stress not imaginable within the walls of a bureaucrat's office; and

  (c)calls on the Assistant Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Public Service Matters (Mr Johns) to redefine:

    (i)the eligibility for such payments under the Act in light of the associated cost burden upon Australian taxpayers, and

    (ii)Comcare Australia's policy as outlined in the supervisor's handbook for stressed employees, that:

      (A)long cigarette breaks are a sign of stress,

      (B)long coffee breaks are a sign of stress,

      (C)too little work causes stress, and

      (D)a supervisor must offer crying employees a tissue and a glass of water.