Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Australian Public Service Board

Download PDFDownload PDF


Ministerial Statement, E. G. Whitlam, House o f Representatives, 11 September 1973

The following is the text of a Ministerial Statement made to the House of Rep­ resentatives by the Prime Minister Mr Gough Whitlam, in tabling the Public · Service Board’s Annual Report for 1973: i

The Public Service Board’s 1973 annual report describes many of the changes which have occurred in the machinery of government since my Government came to power. The revolution is not yet complete. The Department of External Territories will be abolished on I December. Studies are proceeding on the amalgamation of the De­

partments of Transport and Civil Aviation, on the incorporation of the functions of the Department of Customs and Excise and the Department of Supply into other areas of · the Australian Public Service, and on the amalgamation of Departments of Army, Navy . and Air with the Department of Defence. Further changes may be expected as a result j

of other inquiries now in process. In retrospect, these quite massive changes were brought about with reasonable speed and with little friction. The loyalty and impartiality of the Australian Public Service in serving the Government of the day irrespective of political complexion have been de­

monstrated beyond any doubt. Nevertheless it remains true that some difficulties were encountered and that to an extent these difficulties could be attributed to some lack of understanding on the part of the Government and the Public Service of each other’s

purposes and processes. I believe that some of these difficulties could have been avoided. There is a convention in Britain that before a general elction members of the Opposition may meet with senior officials and discuss such matters as the structure and working of departments and the problems of personnel and administration. These

meetings are held with the full knowledge and approval of Ministers. This convention has not been adopted by any previous Australian Government including that which

immediately preceded the present one. However, in the interests of good government I intend that as long as I am Prime Minister the opportunity for such discussions will be made available to the Opposition in the periods before general elections. Naturally they will not embrace matters of a party political nature. My object is simply to ensure that should there ever be another change of government the changeover as it affects the

nation’s administration will take place as smoothly as possible. I thank the Public Service i Board for its great assistance in making the recent change as smooth as it has been. i