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Tuesday, 9 April 1946

Mr Francis s asked the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

1.   Has his attention been drawn to a report in a Brisbane daily newspaper of last week in which Detective Senior. Sergeant Lloyd said in a Brisbane court 'that the police were concerned at the amount of cocaine finding its way into Brisbane?

2.   If so, will he obtain a report from the Queensland Premier on the police officer's statement and institute immediate inquiries through his own officers in Brisbane?

3.   Has he any information to give the House regarding dangerous drugs finding their way into Queensland and other Australian States?

4.   What steps- are taken by his department to check the smuggling of such drugs into Australia?

Mr Dedman - The answers to' the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   Yes.

2.   Yes. 3 and 4. The importation of cocaine and other habit-forming drugs is subject to the issue of special "licences, which are only granted under conditions which permit the distribution of these drugs to be carefully controlled. In this matter, officers of the Department of Trade and Customs co-operate fully with the State authorities. In addition, officers of the department are continuously engaged in searching ships, cargo and baggage- and effects of passengers and crews. Although considerable quantities of smoking cpium have been discovered by these searches, very little cocaine lias been found. The honorable member can rest assured that all steps possible will be taken to prevent the unauthorised introduction nf cocaine and other hnhitforinii>£ drugs into -Australis. public Service: Permanent Appoint- mentoftemporaryofficers.

Mr Chifley y. - On the 26th March, the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) referred to the repeal of section 84(9) (c) of the Commonwealth Public Service Act and asked a question as to whether the. Prime Minister would have the situation examined with a view to exempting from the necessity to pass an examination, before qualifying for permanent appointments those returned soldiers who, before enlisting, had two yen rs' temporary service. Prior to the operation of the Re-establishment and Employment Act 1945 there was provision in section S4 (9) (c) of the Commonwealth Public Service Act giving an order of preference for appointment. This included returned soldiers who had been temporarily employed continuously for not loss than two years. This provision did' not confer a right to appointment, and many more employees completed the prescribed period of temporary work than could bc absorbed into the permanent, staff.

TJnder the provision referred to, the order of priority for permanent appointment was based on the fortuitous circumstance of temporary employment and did not operate fairly. It gave preference to a man who happened to be on the spot and available for temporary work as against another not at the time available for a temporary job, but anxious to secure n permanent appointment and possibly much better qualified than the one who secured the priority. The provision referred to wos deleted from the Public. Service Act by the Reestablishment and Employment Act, which requires that consideration be given to the length, locality and. nature of the war service of applicants for permanent appointment. The position therefore is that, in making permanent appointments tn the Commonwealth Service, the preference provisions of the Beestablishment and Employment Act must apply.

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