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Tuesday, 6 December 1960

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock (LYNE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Order! I remind the honorable member that the clause under consideration relates to provisions for the appointment and recruitment of officers in the Public Service, and that the amendment proposed by the Leader of the Opposition relates to appeals where appointment is refused. The honorable member would be in order in illustrating his argument with respect to appeals, but he should not devote his entire address to canvassing security matters.

Mr CAIRNS - I am confining my remarks exclusively to the Public Service, f am saying that the most vital matter in respect of which an appeal procedure is needed is that which concerns refusal of appointment or promotion on security grounds, because there is a fairly adequate system of appeal with respect to all other matters. This is about the only one with respect to which there is no appeal system, because the authorities take the attitude that no considerations of a security nature are ever involved. For this reason, some special procedure of the kind envisaged in the Opposition's amendment is most relevant and most necessary.

As the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart) has said, we do not suggest that this procedure is the only solution to the problem. But we do say that something of the kind envisaged in the amendment proposed by the Leader of the Opposition has been adopted already in the United Kingdom - a procedure which is considered at least to safeguard the rights and position of the individual in relation to appointments and promotions. In Australia, at the present time, there is not this feeling of confidence that in respect of the Public Service the position and rights of the individual are properly protected. I think that in the Public Service this produces a tameness, a conservativeness and a placidity in the attitude of a good many people towards what is involved. We are a young country, but we are being made too conservative too soon.

I ask the Prime Minister, who has from time to time indicated his respect for provisions to safeguard the rights of the individual, and has from time to time endorsed the liberal philosophy in these matters, to endeavour in this instance to put that philosophy into practice by at least con sidering the amendment which has been proposed by the Leader of the Opposition in order to protect the rights of the individual.

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