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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 47

(Question No. 4424)

Mr Price asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 20 August 1986:

(1) Has his Department issued new guidelines to staff for handling inquiries from federal Members of Parliament.

(2) If so, when were they issued.

(3) Have some regional or area offices refused to handle inquiries.

(4) Under what circumstances can a Member of Parliament request a cable to be sent.

(5) Does he approve of officers (a) refusing to handle an inquiry from a Member and (b) declining a request to send a cable.

Mr Hurford —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)-(2) No.

(3) The Administrative and Clerical Officers' Association (ACOA) in the Parramatta Area Office imposed work bans early in July this year on all inquiries from the honourable member. The bans were lifted mid August after extensive consultation between management, staff and the ACOA.

(4) As a general rule where the average processing time for the particular post and the particular category of migration has elapsed, and/or where there are special circumstances of an urgent compassionate nature, Immigration Offices in Australia will undertake to seek information about applications being processed overseas. Equity requires that my officers prevent representations becoming a means of queue jumping. To ensure that all clients of my Department are dealt with in a fair and equitable way, an instruction to staff on the circumstances in which cables should be sent to overseas posts to enquire about a particular migration case is being developed.

Answer to PQ 4430 of 20 August 1986 also refers.

(5) (a)-(b) The staff of my Department are instructed to be courteous and helpful, where possible, to all clients of the Department and those who represent them.