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Tuesday, 6 December 1960

Mr GALVIN (Kingston) .- I do not wish to advocate that there should not be any temporary employees in the Commonwealth Public Service, because then it would not be able to function. There is a good argument for further consideration being given to the temporary employees in our Public Service. The amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) is full of merit. Many persons in the Commonwealth Public Service have given good years of their lives - many of them, perhaps, have not given twenty years' service - and they deserve consideration. The amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition mentions a period of twenty years. I think we are making it a bit tough by stipulating twenty years, but that is a starting point. After serving the Commonwealth for that period of time people are entitled to be classified as permanent employees. Already the Public Srvice adopts this attitude, at least partly, in principle, because certain temporary employees are allowed to participate in the Provident Account, and I am not certain that some of them do not come under the superannuation provisions also. But in any event quite a number have been taken into the Provident Account and so the Commonwealth says, in principle, "You can regard yourself almost as a permanent employee, because we are anxious that you should be protected. You are going to be with us for a long while, so we are making these facilities available for you to join the Provident Account."

In joining the Provident Account those temporary employees are placed almost on a level with permanent employees, with the difference, of course, that they know not when some government may decide that perhaps 10,000 or some other number of them should be dismissed from the Public Service, The moment that happens, temporary employees find their positions in jeopardy and a certain number of them have to go.. Heads of departments have no choice if they have to get rid of so many temporary employees; and no matter what the circumstances then, the, chap who has served the Government and the people, of Australia well and who may be equal, in the sacrifice he has made, to the permanent officer, is dismissed without further notice. We suggest that twenty years' service is a fair assessment. If an employee serves for twenty years the Government should then say to him, " You have proved yourself an efficient public servant. You are trustworthy. You are capable of doing your work and we are prepared to take you on a permanent basis, notwithstanding the fact that you may not have these other qualifications." The fact that some temporary employees are allowed to join the Provident Account, whilst perhaps others are not, means that some are given a form of permanency. The amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition is well worth while, and the Government should meet the wishes not only of the Opposition but also of the great number of loyal servants - exservicemen and others - who have worked in the Public Service for years and years, and it should agree to this request to give them permanency after twenty years' service.

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