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Thursday, 28 May 1942

Mr WARD (EAST SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Labour and National Service) - On the 8th May, and again on the 19th May, the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Harrison) asked me questions, without notice, about the appointment of Mr. G. Sinclair to my department, and requested me to furnish a list, setting out the number of Labour members of Parliament, union organizers, and other Labour supporters attached to the Department of Labour at present.

Mr. Sinclairhas been appointed as an investigation officer at a salary of £468 standard. He will deal with certain matters affecting dilution in the boilermaking trades, and will be attached to the Central Dilution (Boilermaking Trades) Committee, under the control of the chairman of that committee. The duties to be carried out by the occupant of this temporary position, as approved by the Public Service Board, are as follows : -

(1)   Investigate the progress of dilution in all States in relation to the need, from time to time, for " added tradesmen " in the boilermaking trades.

(2)   Maintain liaison, in regard to boilermaking dilution matters, with the trade organizations concerned.

(3)   Investigate complaints of a general character regarding boilermaking dilution matters.

(4)   Advise field officers, dilution, of general policy in regard to dilution and placement of " added tradesmen ".

(5)   As opportunity allows, carry out such duties of a field officer, dilution, as may be required.

The duties of Mr. J. S. Garden, who was recently appointed to my personal staff, are ' to act as a liaison officer between the unions and myself, and to carry out such investigations as I may, from time to time, direct as the result of requests received from unions. Mr. Garden is paid a salary of £10 a week. I am pleased to advise that, as a result of his activities, many disputes have been satisfactorily settled, without an actual stoppage of work.

Four members of the Commonwealth Parliament are assisting me with my departmental work, and may be included in the honorable member's classification of " members and supporters ". They are Senator Aylett, and Messrs. James, Watkins, and . Morgan of this Parliament. These honorable gentlemen are assisting me with my work in relation to specific industries or areas.

Regarding the details requested by the honorable member as to Labour supporters attached to the Department of Labour, the position is that at the date on which the Labour . Government assumed office in October last, a considerable number of supporters of the United Australia .party and the Country party was attached to this department. Due to the excellence of the work performed by the department, I am informed that all are now staunch supporters of the Labour party. If the honorable member has information to the contrary, I shall be pleased if he will give it to 'me confidentially. I assure him that the matter will receive my usual prompt attention.

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