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Tuesday, 3 December 1974
Page: 3061

Senator MILLINER (Queensland) - I do not think any honourable senator on this side of the chamber intended to enter into this debate until we heard the final remarks of Senator Greenwood. If I may say so, I regard his remarks as being fairly insulting to a wonderful set of people in the Public Service. I cast my mind back to the time when I was an apprentice at the Queensland Government Printing Office. I took an oath of allegiance, but that did not impress me anywhere near as much as my overseer telling me of my responsibilities as a tradesman to keep secret the work done by the Government Printing Office. That made a far greater impression on me than any oath of allegiance I may have taken.

It may be of interest to the Senate to know that the fact that some people at the Government Printing Office took the oath of allegiance did not stop them from accepting an offer of money to leak to certain people some examination papers. But these people were not charged in relation to any oath of allegiance. An inquiry was held into the incident. The people on the job knew who was responsible for leaking the information. They were the ones who took action on behalf of the Government and on behalf of their own honour. They saw to it that the 2 people concerned gave notice and left the employ of the Government Printing Office. Honourable senators opposite should not think that just because someone takes an oath of allegiance they are going to be a purist of the best nature. The fact is that that person's responsibilities and his own conscience will be the guide.

It is interesting to note that the oath of allegiance was required of employees in the Public Service of Queensland but now it is not required. Are honourable senators opposite going to suggest to me that the public servants of Queensland are inferior people to those who took the oath of allegiance? Are honourable senators opposite going to suggest that the 3 public servants sitting on my left would be inferior because they did not take an oath of allegiance? I say that having joined the Public Service, they have a conscience. They know they have a responsibility to the nation. They are aware of their responsibilities. They are aware of them when they commence their duties. Consequently, I believe that should be the only test- their conscience- of their responsibilities to the nation.

Question put:

That the words proposed to be added (Senator Greenwood's amendment) be added.

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