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Thursday, 2 December 1965


Order! The honorable member for Oxley will cease interjecting. I remind him that he is out of his place.

Mr McMAHON - I hope it will not be too long before the Government is able to give a decision.

Mr Hayden - Last night was the first time that it was considered.

Dr J F Cairns (YARRA, VICTORIA) - When did Cabinet really consider it?


Order! The honorable member for Oxley has made his speech.

Mr McMAHON - As soon as the Government has made a decision it will be announced to the House, if it is sitting, and if the House is not sitting I will make the announcement as soon as I can. I want to assure the honorable member for Oxley-

Mr Whitlam - Is this committee in the Minister's Department?

Mr McMAHON - I am encountering many interruptions when I am half way through a sentence. If honorable members opposite want to ask me questions at the end of my sentences I shall be only too happy to supply answers. In this case rudeness gets one nowhere. I ask the House to consider the three sub-headings raised by the honorable member for Oxley. The first was that female employees holding permanent appointment should be able to retain their employment after marriage, if they so wish. This is one of the problems that will be considered by the committee for final report to the Cabinet. His second heading was that married females should be eligible for employment in permanent positions. That also is implicit in what I have said and is a problem which already has been considered by the Government and will be further considered by the Government. It will be referred to the Government again for consideration when the report of the committee is available. His third main point was that confinement leave should be available for female employees. That is another important problem of an administrative nature that must be considered not only by the Public Service Board but also by the employing sectors of the Commonwealth Public Service, particularly the Postmaster-General's Department, the Department of Supply and the Department of the Navy in their various establishments throughout Australia.

Having said that, I can make no further contribution at the moment. The facts as they have been outlined by the honorable gentleman are well known to us and have been presented to Cabinet. I do not say this in any sense of criticism. I assure him that all the facts that he has mentioned are well known to us.

Mr Hayden - Why have not these matters been acted on before now? Why was nothing done about them?


Order! I warn the honorable member for Oxley that he will be dealt with if he does not cease interjecting. I remind him again that he is out of his place.

Mr McMAHON - There is no further contribution that I can make to the sensible discussion of this problem. Whilst I understand the difficulties of honorable members opposite who have gone to great trouble in order to prepare their speeches, I do not think a continuation of this debate could add anything useful to the discussion. I doubt whether it could add anything useful to the knowledge which is at present available to the Government and which is at present being considered.

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