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Thursday, 6 December 1973
Page: 2540

Senator TOWNLEY (TASMANIA) - I wish to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. Is he able to confirm that, now that the Army, Navy and Air Force have been combined under one Minister for Defence- and we would have expected as a result some efficiencies- in fact the number of officers in the Department of Defence who are receiving more than $17,000 a year and who are becoming well known as 'fat cats' has increased at a time when defence expenditure has decreased? If the Minister is able to confirm this increase in the number of'fat cats', can he say just what efficiencies have resulted from gathering all the defence departments under one head?

Senator BISHOP (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence) - One of the objectives of the reorganisation, details of which were announced in the Parliament this year, is to save manpower. Some of the figures that have been put forward have been reasonable. It is expected that in the short-term about 300 civilian officers will be placed outside the defence Services. Although their positions will become redundant, they will not lose their jobs, but there will be a saving immediately of about 300 positions. In the long-term by the time the reorganisation is completed, about 1,000 civilian officers could be located in other departments. Regarding the relative number of positions of so-called 'fat cats', I do not have the details before me. However, the honourable senator has probably noticed that Cabinet has decided that a tribunal should determine the salaries for some of the higher level classifications. This matter is currently being considered within the Public Service because some heads of departments have not gained what they argued to be the increase that they should have had resulting from the decisions of the Cabinet sub-committee. However, Cabinet and the Government have decided that there will be a tribunal set up to look into this situation, correct any anomalies, and perhaps see that the higher classifications, about which the honourable senator is concerned, can be more reasonably positioned in the economic sphere.

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