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Thursday, 24 September 1942
Page: 940

Mr Curtin n. - With reference to the question upon notice asked by the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) on the 17th September, and my reply thereto, relating to a letter dated the 22nd August, 1940, addressed to the Prime Minister by Mr. A. B. Piddington, K.C., I desire to inform the honorable member that having received an intimation from Mr. Piddington that he has no objection to his letter being made public I have arranged for a copy of it to be laid on the table of the Library.


Mr Ward - On the 17 th September, the honorable member forFlinders (Mr. Ryan) asked the following questions, without notice : -

In view of the urgent necessity to make available personnel for the fighting services and war industries, has the Minister for Labour and National Service investigated the degree to which government departments, government instrumentalities such as the Australian Apple and Pear Board, and other concerns that are working under such instrumentalities, may be drawn on for this purpose, and the extent to which men taken from them may be replaced by women ? If so, what action has he taken to make such men available and to replace them by women where possible?

In reply to the honorable member,I stated -

The Man Power Section of the Department of Labour and National Servicehas continually under review proposals for the full utilization of all available man-power. The suggestion made by the honorable member has. I have no doubt, already been considered by man-power officers, but I shall obtain a report from them on the matter, and reply more fully in a day or two.

The following information is now submitted for the information of the honorable member: -

A special committee operating under the Man Power Directorate was set up some time ago to review the staffs of Commonwealth Government Departments and Instrumentalities. A similar review has been carried out in respect of the various State Government Departments and Instrumentalities. These reviews have been proceeding for some time and have now been practically completed. The departments have been advised as to medically fit men of military age who are to be made available for service in the armed forces, either with or without replacement.

In regard to Commonwealth Departments and Instrumentalities, including the Australian Apple and Pear Marketing Board, approximately 1,400 officers were made available for immediate military service. It was decided that approximately 1,800 are to be released as soon as replacements have been obtained, and in this respect the departments have been requested to arrange for replacements as a matter of urgency.I may add that 4,000 officers of Commonwealth Government Departments and Instrumentalities have enlisted since the outbreak of war. This is not the sum total from all Commonwealth Departments as detailed information is not yet available regarding the result of the survey of certain State officers of Commonwealth Departments. With regard to the second part of the honorable member's question as to replacement of men by women, I may say that in considering what officers should he made available for service, the question as to the extent they should be replaced by women was fully considered, and in fact many such replacements have already been made.

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