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Thursday, 2 December 1976
Page: 3183

Mr STALEY (Chisholm) (Minister for the Capital Territory) - If I might also be irrelevant for a moment, I shall respond to the question asked of me by the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant). It is a fact that in the Aus.tralian Capital Territory the Government has acted to provide for long service leave for private employees. But we did not provide for long service leave which was quite as generous as some people would have wished. We provided, as a legislative requirement, for long service leave which is as generous as exists throughout the private sector over most of Australia. It is not equal to the conditions enjoyed by Commonwealth public servants or by a number of the public services of the country. But it has been done and it is something which I know was being pursued by the honourable member for Wills who has just spoken. We got there.

Mr Bryant - That is 2 shots to you.

Mr STALEY - It is 2 shots to us. That remark from the honourable member I think sums up the spirit of this debate where there has been some agreement on all sides. There has been only goodwill for this legislation from all sides. I do, on behalf of the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister in Public Service Matters, that is the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations (Mr Street), thank honourable members for their contribution. The Minister was unable to be in the chamber tonight but he came in and he is aware of the fact that the Opposition is supporting this legislation. He has asked me to say that he will take full account of what has been said by honourable members. A matter, which was drawn to my attention and which I shall mention before making a brief concluding remark, concerns Commonwealth public servants who are transferred to Darwin. As I understand it, there is no question but that they will enjoy full, normal rights of promotion from Darwin into positions elsewhere in the Commonwealth Public Service throughout Australia. Promotion, as honourable members know, is based on merit. If justice is not done, then the appeals procedures which apply in normal Commonwealth Public Service cases are open to people who have been transferred to Darwin. So, as a matter of fact in law their rights are preserved.

Mr Willis - They are not convinced of that.

Mr STALEY - I am told that that is, in fact, the position. I must say that I can understand people's fears when they move to distant parts whether they are with a Territory Public Service or simply with an arm of the Commonwealth Public Service in an area which happens to be relatively remote. I think people often fear these things without their fear necessarily being based on fact or law. It is not unnatural for people to have these sorts of fears as was noted in the case of people who live around the lake in the Australian Capital Territory. They fear what might happen when there is a delegation in authority in certain areas to the Legislative Assembly. I thank the honourable member for Canberra (Mr Haslem) for his comments. I could not agree more about the need to reassure Commonwealth public servants presently working in areas which will be delegated to the Legislative Assembly, that their rights and their futures will be fully preserved. It is worth pointing out that in the case of the Capital Territory we are not proposing anything like statehood such as is proposed for the Northern Territory. People who work here will be working for a Commonwealth territory administration as far as I am concerned forever and a day. Everything we do here will be done under the Commonwealth Constitution, in accordance with the powers of this Parliament and solely within the powers of this Parliament. So we are looking at Commonwealth territory legislation. With those few words I again thank honourable members for their most constructive comments.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Whenthe last 2 speakers, the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) and the Minister for the Capital Territory (Mr Staley) made comments which were irrelevant, a tremendous temptation was created for the Chair. Fortunately, I remembered the biblical injunction and I resisted the temptation to make a comment.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

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