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Tuesday, 6 December 1960

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member is getting a little wide of the subject-matter before the Chair.

Mr McCOLM - If you do not mind my saying so, Mr. Speaker, I am speaking about certain proposals which should be implemented.

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member is not in order in canvassing the Public Service Act generally.

Mr McCOLM - What is the purpose of this bill?

Mr SPEAKER - The bill has already been dealt with in committee. The motion now is that the bill be read a third time.

Mr McCOLM - Is it not correct that the Prime Minister has said that if we wanted all these matters to be dealt with thoroughly we would need another bill? I am referring to that aspect. Is that canvassing the Public Service Act generally?

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member is departing from the subjectmatter before the Chair.

Mr McCOLM - I hope that at some time in the future an appeal tribunal which will be completely independent of the Public Service Board will be set up, and that public servants, if they find themselves in conflict with the board, will have the right of appeal to that tribunal.

Let me now deal with a matter to which the bill refers specifically. In a very general way there is some provision for reinstating public servants after they have resigned to stand as candidates in either a Commonwealth or a State election, but there is no mention of what happens to a public servant who seeks, and is not granted, leave without pay to stand as a candidate at an election. The act gives a discretionary power, not to the Public Service Board, not to the head of a particular department, but to the chief officer of a department to determine whether a man who wishes to stand as a candidate at an election shall resign from the service or be granted leave of absence without pay to contest the election. It would be wrong for the Public Service Board to have that power, but it is far more wrong that a chief officer in a department should have the power. Why should the public servant's family be placed in jeopardy? At the whim of the chief officer the employee takes the risk of losing his superannuation rights if he is forced to resign'.

There are many issues of a similar nature which should be resolved in the legislation, and I intend to provide the Government with even more detailed suggestions than I have advanced in the past two years in the hope that the Government will adopt them.

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