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Wednesday, 21 November 1973
Page: 3663

Mr Scholes (CORIO, VICTORIA) asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

(1)   Has his attention been drawn toreports that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition requires a female adviser who can type and that the Deputy Leader has stated that the Government has refused to provide the Opposition with adequate staff.

(2)   What staff were provided to Opposition Party Members under the Government of which the present Deputy Leader was a Minister, and what was the classification in each case.

(3)   What staff are available to Members of the present Opposition, and what is the classification in each case.

(4)   What requests by the Opposition for additional staff have been rejected.

Mr Whitlam - The answer to the honourable Member's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   Details of staff approved by the former Government for the non-Government parties as at 1 December 1972 are shown in Table 1 below.

(3)   The present Government, following representations from the non-Government parties, approved a major increase and upgrading in the staff available to them. A total number of positions was approved viz. nine clerical, three Press Secretaries and fourteen stenographic positions for the Liberal Party and four clerical, one Press Secretary and six stenographic positions for the Country, Party leaving each Leader to allocate the positions within his party. The Government also approved three stenographic positions for use by the Liberal Party Executive and one for use by the Country Party Executive. It upgraded the top position on the staff of the Leader of the Democratic Labor Party.

The end result has been that the staff available to non-government parlies has been increased from 29 under the previous Government to 45 under the present Government. Within these totals the number of senior positions (i.e. third division) has been increased from 10 to 19.

The classification of staff available to the nonGovernment parties has also been upgraded. In addition to the positions listed on the attached table, six positions are available to the Rt. Honourable William McMahon and the Rt. Honourable J. G. Gorton, as former Prime Ministers.

The approved staff establishments for nonGovernment parties as at 1 November 1973 are as shown in Table 2.

(4)   Requests for staff, in addition to the total positions allocated, that have been rejected are:

Requested by the Leader of the Opposition: One extra Sessional Clerk position for each Opposition Whip (allowance for these positions had been made in the total positions allocated); one extra stenographer position for each Office-holder;

One extra Electorate Secretary for each Opposition Whip torelease two stenographic positions for re-allocation within the party; one Research Officer position at Clerk, Class 11 salary ($13991-14484) in lieu of one Ministerial Officer Grade 1 ($8886-9548) position for the Leader's staff.

The Leader also suggested that the top position on his own staff should be at the same classification, Ministerial Officer Grade 5 ($19085), as the top position on my own staff and that the top position on the staff of the Deputy Leader should be at Ministerial Officer Grade 4 ($17300) in line with that on the Deputy Prime Minister's staff.

Requested by the Leader of the Country Parly: One extra Sessional Clerk position for the Country Party Whip. At the time this request was refused, I approved a full time stenographic position for use by the Party Executive.

Requested by, the former Leader of the Democratic Labor Party: One Research Officer position for the Leader's staff; one extra Steno-Secretary position for the Leader's staff.



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