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Friday, 12 June 1970

Mr BRYANT (WILLS, VICTORIA) - Before I address my question to the Minister for Labour and National . Service may I congratulate you, Mr Speaker, on the clemency and understanding that you showed in a very difficult situation yesterday. It was a good deed in a naughty world. I hope that no further incidents of that nature occur. I address my question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Is he aware of the rising resentment amongst the staff of Parliament House at all levels at the callous disregard of their personal welfare shown by his handling of the hours of meeting? Is he aware that many of the staff in the refreshment rooms have reached a stage of absolute exhaustion and that demands are being imposed on all staff in Parliament House which would not be tolerated in any industrial establishment? Would the Minister agree that the Parliament is served by a staff unsurpassed for devotion to duty and unfailing courtesy to all concerned? Is he aware that he has damaged the morale of the people upon whom Parliament depends for its effective functioning, and that industrial action could be taken to right their grievances? How does he equate bis disregard for the employees of this institution with his duty as Minister for Labour and National Service, to see that other employers abide by the spirit of modern industrial practice? Before the Parliament resumes for the next period of sitting, will he confer with representatives of the staff at all levels, high and low, as well as the Joint House Department and the Joint House Committee and adopt working hours showing some common sense instead of the staggering incompetence which has been demonstrated over the past few weeks?

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