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Tuesday, 26 November 1974
Page: 2716

Senator WOOD (QUEENSLAND) - I ask the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs: How much longer is the Government prepared to stand the public criticism which Mr Perkins is making of the head of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, Mr Dexter? If any non-Aboriginal public servant made such damaging statements about the head of his department what action would be taken in respect of that non-Aboriginal public servant?

Senator CAVANAGH - I do not know what action would be taken against anyone who was as outspoken in his criticism of the head of a department as Mr Perkins has been of the head of his department. It is a matter for the particular head of the department to make a decision whether any action is to be taken. Mr Perkins or anyone else is presumed to be innocent of any wrong-doing until such time as he is charged, and suspended, and even then he has a right of appeal. The charging of Mr Perkins or any other public servant under the Public Service Act can be done by anyone. It is not just a question of what the Government is doing. Mr Perkins returned to work yesterday, I believe, to clean up some outstanding matters in the Department prior to his going on leave without pay, for which he has made application. I do not know whether any charges have been made but if anyone thought that his statements were a threat to the proper functioning of the Public Service I am sure that the Government would be forthright in charging Mr Perkins.

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