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Tuesday, 4 September 1984
Page: 428

The following answers to questions were circulated:


Senator Ryan —On 5 April 1984 (Hansard, page 1298) Senator Martin asked Senator Button, as Minister representing the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment in the Senate, a question without notice concerning appointments to the Australia Council and the attendance of members of the Australia Council at Council meetings. The Acting Minister for Home Affairs and Environment has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

Appointments to the Australia Council are made by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment. In recommending appointments, the Minister takes into account State representation.

The Australia Council Act 1975 provides that persons appointed to the Council by the Governor-General shall include, amongst others, such number of persons who practise or have practised the arts or are otherwise associated with the arts as the Governor-General thinks fit. The Act also provides that, in appointing persons in this category, the Governor-General shall endeavour to ensure that a majority of the members holding office are persons who practise the arts or have practised the arts and that the membership of the Council includes a reasonable balance of persons who practise or have practised the various arts.

On 3 May 1984 the Governor-General appointed Associate Professor Donald Horne to be, as a part time member, the Chairman of the Australia Council for a period of three years commencing on 1 January 1985 and Professor Di Yerbury to be the General Manager of the Australia Council for a period of four years commencing on 14 June 1984.

On 11 May 1984 the Governor-General also approved Ms Helen Williams, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education and Youth Affairs as a part time member of the Australia Council. Ms Williams has been appointed as a Government representative on the Australia Council.

The terms of office of six members of the Council expired on 30 June 1984. To fill these vacancies and two existing vacancies on the Council the Governor- General appointed, on 4 July 1984, eight new part time members to the Council, including a Deputy Chairman:

Betty Churcher (Deputy Chairman) (New South Wales), writer, college lecturer and chairman of the Council's Visual Arts Board;

Chicka Dixon, chairman of the Council's Aboriginal Arts Board;

Michael Crosby (New South Wales), federal secretary of Actors Equity since 1982 ;

Errol O'Neill (Queensland), actor, writer and director, worked with the Queensland Popular Theatre Troupe, 1977-83;

Anthony Steel, A.M. (South Australia), arts consultant, Director, Adelaide Festival of Arts, 1972 and 1984; Director Designate 1986 Festival;

John Pinder (Victoria), entertainment entrepreneur, has managed or introduced many well known Australian performers and acts, for example, Daddy Cool, Circus Oz and Rod Quantock;

Therese Radic (Victoria), a leading Australian music historian and Associate of the Faculty of Music, University of Melbourne; and

Diana Gribble (Victoria), publisher, co-founder and director of McPhee Gribble Publishers Pty Ltd.

With regard to attendance records of members of the Australia Council, I am advised that there is no requirement that the information either be tabled or published. However, I have provided direct to the honourable senator a table showing Australia Council members' attendance at Council meetings over a two- year period up to February 1984.


Senator Walsh —On 7 May 1984 (Hansard, page 1632) Senator Sir John Carrick asked me a question without notice concerning the British nuclear tests and an Australian committee known as the Atomic Weapons Testing Advisory Committee or similar.

I provide the following additional information to the response I gave in the Senate and to Senator Sir John Carrick's supplementary question on the subject:

A Committee, then called the 'Maralinga Safety Committee' was set up in July 1955 with Professor Sir Leslie Martin as its first chairman. In 1956, the Committee was renamed the 'Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee' (AWTSC). There was no formal committee for the first two tests at Monte Bello and Emu. Professors Martin and Titterton were, however, both present at the Hurricane and the Totem nuclear tests. Members of the (AWTSC) included expert scientists and senior public servants. In January 1957 the Committee comprised:

Prof Sir Leslie Martin, (Chairman)

Prof E. W. Titterton, Member

Mr W. A. S. Butement, Member (Department of Supply)

Mr L. J. Dwyer, Member (Director of Meteorology)

Mr D. J. Stevens, Member (Commonwealth X-Ray Laboratory)

Mr H. A. Wills, Member (Secretary to Committee)

In January 1958, the Committee comprised:

Prof E. W. Titterton, (Chairman)

Mr L. J. Dwyer, Member (Director of Meteorology)

Mr D. J. Stevens, Member (Commonwealth X-Ray Laboratory)

Dr J. H. Martin, Member (Cancer Institute Board)

Mr J. Moroney, Member (Secretary to Committee)

The responsibilities of the Committee, when founded, were:

(a) to examine information and other data supplied by the United Kingdom Government relating to atomic weapons tests from time to time proposed to be carried out in Australia for the purpose of determining whether the safety measures proposed to be taken in relation to such tests were adequate for the prevention of injury to persons or damage to livestock and other property as a result of such tests; and

(b) to advise the Prime Minister, through the Minister for Supply, of the conclusions arrived at by the Committee as a result of each examination and in particular as to whether, and if so what additional, alternative or more extensive safety measures are considered necessary or desirable.

Reports of the activities of the Committee and other relevant documents are available and were reviewed by Australian Ionising Radiation Advisory Council in the preparation of its report 'British Nuclear Tests in Australia-a review of operational safety measures and of possible after-effects' and more recently by the Kerr Committee. Dr J Symonds who has prepared a Chronology of Events concerning the British atomic tests in Australia, which I tabled on 7 June, 1984 , has also examined relevant AWTSC documents.

My Department has contacted available members of the AWTSC in relation to the question. Their recollections vary in detail but none can recall any evidence of harmful effects of the atomic tests in the areas for which the Committee had a responsibility.

My Department has sought from the relevant departments and agencies detailed documentation of all material held in the Australian Archives and elsewhere relating to the British atomic tests in Australia and the details of this material will be made available to the Royal Commission which has commenced its inquiry into the tests. More precise answers to questions raised in respect of the British atomic tests can be expected to result from the deliberations of the Commission.


Senator Walsh —On 31 May 1984, (Hansard, page 2232) Senator Colston asked me a question without notice concerning the flow through to the retail level of the recent $60 a tonne decrease in the wholesale price of liquefied petroleum gas. I undertook to check with the Treasurer to see whether the Prices Surveillance Authority was monitoring retail prices of LPG.

The Prices Surveillance Authority does not maintain surveillance of retail prices of petroleum products including LPG.

The Authority is currently conducting an inquiry into petroleum prices. As part of this inquiry, consideration is being given to the appropriate extent of surveillance of petroleum prices. The Authority is to complete its final report by 25 July 1984.


Senator GARETH EVANS —On 12 June 1984 (Hansard, page 2805) Senator Martin asked the Minister representing the Special Minister of State, without notice:

When Cabinet was considering changing Australia's national colours from the previous unofficial blue and gold to our sporting colours of green and gold:

(1) what information did it seek about the cost of such a change?

(2) will statutory authorities such as the Australian Bicentennial Authority and the Australian Tourist Commission, which adopted blue and gold logos because they were our national colours, be required to change to green and gold logos?

(3) what was the cost of designing and registering the present logos of the Australian Bicentennial Authority and the Australian Tourist Commission?

(4) What will be the cost of changing these logos?

The Special Minister of State has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

At the outset it should be noted that Australia had no formally approved national colours before the Governor-General's proclamation of green and gold on 19 April 1984. The adoption of green and gold as our formal colours was taken noting the community's general use and identification of these colours as a symbol of Australia.

With regard to the specific issues raised in the question:

(1) The use of any colours in the context of symbols, logos and other forms for identification purposes involves funding. This was appreciated when the adoption of official national colours was being considered.

(2) Blue and gold were not Australia's official national colours. The Australian Bicentennial Authority sees advantages in changing its colours as a consequence of the Government's decision. The Minister for Home Affairs and Environment announced the change on 23 July 1984.

The Australian Tourist Commission uses blue and gold as its primary colours. However, it should be noted that different colours are used in different markets , appropriately reflecting the colour perceptions in each market.

(3) The cost of designing and registering the Australian Bicentennial Authority 's current logo, which includes both symbol and prescribed words, was approximately $100,000 to 30 June 1984. This amount includes the cost of a nation-wide competition to select a suitable symbol and registration costs both in Australia and overseas.

Costs incurred by the Australian Tourist Commission in relation to its logo totalled $57,250, which includes designer fees, material, tender, and trade mark registration charges.

(4) The logo of the Australian Bicentennial Authority will not be changed, though the colours will in time. The Authority will keep the costs involved to a minimum. No additional design or registration costs will be incurred and, as far as practicable, current stocks of stationery and brochures will be issued before new stocks with the national colours are obtained. Funds to cover the unavoidable costs involved in the changeover have been provided in the ABA's 1984/85 appropriation. The ABA estimates that the amount involved, excluding the cost of Bicentennial Roads Development Program signs, will not exceed $300,000. The money will be spent mainly on planning kits for the 839 Bicentennial Community Committees being formed throughout the nation.

Should the Australian Tourist Commission decide to change its colours, the use of new colours would be introduced progressively, avoiding wastage.


Senator Button —On 13 June 1984 (Hansard, page 2915) Senator Crowley asked me, as Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, the following question without notice:

I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations whether he has seen an article in yesterday's Age headed: ' Tenosynovitis will cost millions in compo, says solicitor'. Is he aware of comments by the solicitor, Mr John MacMillan, that computer manufacturers claim that ergonomic features built into their products substantially lowered the incidence of tenosynovitis in key stroke operators? Is he further aware that Mr MacMillan claims that job design, with adequate rest periods, is far more important in preventing tenosynovitis than ergonomic components? Can the Minister say whether similar consideration is given to computer operators in Federal Government departments? Can he confirm the estimates of cost to industry of workers' compensation, as claimed in the article? Will he raise these issues with the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations for reference to the proposed national commission on occupational health and safety?

The Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations has provided the following information in response to the honourable senator's question:

Yes, I have seen the article in the Age in which Mr MacMillan is quoted as saying that '. . . these measures [job design], coupled with the implementation of correct postural positioning plus seating and keyboard positioning, have resulted in a marked decrease in the number of injuries to keystroke workers'.

As I understand it, a number of factors, including job re-design or workplace design, will require attention to bring about an improvement. I doubt whether there is an exclusive solution for this serious occupational problem.

Many departments now have guidelines available which specify the need for rest breaks and well designed equipment. For example, the Office of the Public Service Board issued on 3 August 1984 a comprehensive circular (84/2970) dealing with the prevention of repetition strain injuries. It is expected that this circular will provide additional assistance to those departments which have still to introduce preventive strategies.

The Department of Employment and Industrial Relations' policy for its own employees states that 'a regular change in work or tasks such as a mix of duties or job rotation may provide breaks from continuous keyboard operation'.

The question of the frequency and duration of rest breaks is the subject of on- going negotiations between staff associations, departments and the Public Service Board. As a general guide where sustained keying is involved, and the opportunity to perform a mix of duties is not available, rest breaks of up to 10 minutes after 1 hour's work may be applicable.

I cannot confirm Mr MacMillan's estimate of the cost of tenosynovitis and related diseases to industry and government. With regard to the broad area of occupational health and safety, funds have been provided in the 1984-85 Budget for the establishment of a National Occupational Health and Safety Commission. I assure the honourable senator that the National Commission can be expected to devote urgent attention to tenosynovitis and related diseases with a view to their elimination.


Senator Gareth Evans —On 13 June 1984 (Hansard, page 2910) Senator Primmer asked me, as Minister representing the Special Minister of State, the following question without notice:

Has the Minister representing the Special Minister of State seen the comment of former Chief Superintendent Headland of the Australian Federal Police in yesterday's Canberra Times wherein he is reported as saying that Federal departmental fraud is being overlooked and there is much Federal fraud going on that is largely undetected and uninvestigated? Has Chief Superintendent Headland been involved in investigations into allegations of fraud in the Department of Foreign Affairs?

The Special Minister of State has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

I have seen the Canberra Times article of 12 June 1984 in which former Chief Superintendent Headland is reported as making certain personal comments on a number of issues.

I have been informed that from the inception of the Australian Federal Police in 1979 until his recent retirement, former Chief Superintendent Headland was not involved in any investigations into allegations of fraud in the Department of Foreign Affairs or any other Commonwealth department or agency.