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Wednesday, 20 August 1980
Page: 568

Dr Cass asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice on 29 April 1980:

(1)   How many persons born overseas (indicating country of birth) are employed by the Attorney-General's Department.

(2)   How many of these persons are employed on a (a) temporary and (b) permanent basis and in what classifications are they employed.

(3)   How many bi-lingual and multi-lingual staff members are employed by the Department in counter situations and/or close contact with members of the public.

(4)   Does the Department have translating facilities; if so, (a) what languages are involved and (b) how many persons are working in the area and what are their classifications.

(5)   If the Department does not have interpreting and translating facilities, what arrangements are made for performing these tasks.

Mr Viner - The Attorney-General has supplied the following answers to the honourable member's question:

(   1 ) and (2) Collective statistics on employees' countries of birth are not maintained and 1 am not prepared to authorise the use of the extensive resources which would be involved in manually extracting the information required from appointment records.

(3)   Possession of bi-lingual or multi-lingual skills is not a prerequisite for employment in my Department. There are, however, staff employed in my Department who do possess these skills and who from time to time exercise these skills during the normal performance of their duties.

(4)   My Department does not have translating facilities from within its own staff.

(5)   translation of correspondence or documents is normally undertaken by the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, although officers of my Department possessing the requisite skills may undertake this task from time to time in matters that are relatively simple. Interpreting requirements are usually provided by the "Telephone Interpreter Service" of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. Arrangements are made on an ad hoc basis for interpreters to be available when they are required for the purposes of Court proceedings.

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