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Tuesday, 9 April 1957

Mr Ward d asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

1.   Is it the practice for relief assistance to be provided from the Commonwealth Public Service when members of his personal or office staff, or of the staff of a Minister, are absent from duty on annual or sick leave, or for any other reason?

2.   If so, why are private members of the Parliament denied a replacement, when their secretarytypist, who is their sole office assistant, is absent from duty for any of these reasons?

3.   Does this lack of staff replacement, which necessitates the temporary but complete closing of the member's office, cause great inconvenience to Australian citizens seeking the aid and assistance of their parliamentary representative, particularly whilst the Commonwealth Parliament is in session?

4.   If so, what is the reason for the continuance of a position which makes it impossible for members to provide uniformly efficient service to their constituents for 52 weeks in the year?

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

1.   No. 2, 3 and 4. The practice of not providing relief secretary-typists for members of Parliament was confirmed by the independent committee of inquiry reporting in 1955. The report of that committee was adopted by the Parliament.

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