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Tuesday, 6 December 1960

Mr McCOLM (Bowman) .- We have been told that the Government is at present considering further amendments of the Public Service Act, some of them possibly relating to the employment of physically handicapped people - and I sincerely hope that some amendments will be made in this direction - and others concerned with the employment of married women. This bill has made some very good amendments of the principal act, but the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has said that if we wanted to clear up the act and make it reasonably watertight we would need another bill. I think that is true. There are a number of important aspects that I should like to see dealt with more fully, possibly early in the next sessional period.

A number of cases have come to my notice over the last few years in which the Public Service Board has not meted out justice, although acting no doubt with the best intentions. Members of the board are only human. There is not the slightest doubt that if a public servant finds himself in conflict with the board he has a right of appeal only to Caesar. In other words, having submitted a basic case and having had that case rejected, there is no body or individual to which he can appeal legally for assistance. He cannot approach his member of Parliament while he belongs to the Public Service without running the risk of immediate dismissal. He must continue to appeal to the Public Service Board. I have adequate proof that in some cases injustices have occurred, although the Public Service Board may have had the best intentions. The service is very large, and I have no doubt that the board cannot always concern itself with the details of the problems of individuals. The Prime Minister, who is the ministerial head of the Public Service, has many duties to perform.

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