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Thursday, 5 December 1974
Page: 4605

Dr J F Cairns (LALOR, VICTORIA) (Minister for Overseas Trade) - Mr Speaker,I wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER -Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Dr J F Cairns (LALOR, VICTORIA) - Yes. I desire to make a personal explanation because I believe that there is no other way in which I can put a few misrepresentations in order. The personal explanation concerns the appointment to my staff of Miss Junie Morosi. Two days ago I took the necessary steps to have Miss Morosi appointed as private secretary at a salary of $12,200 plus overtime. This is the normal salary of a secretary to a Minister. It represents approximately the salary of most secretaries to Ministers. In some cases the salary of a secretary is a little lower than that, where the higher grade is reserved for somebody else. In some cases, the salary is considerably above the one that Miss Morosi will be receiving. She will be classified as a ministerial officer grade 2, which is the normal grade. There was no suggestion anywhere that she would be paid $17,000 or $17,500. This rumour is the result alone of unfounded newspaper speculation, as is the other minor point that she would be appointed office co-ordinator. That has never been thought of or mentioned and in some way or other it is a newspaper invention. I am quite satisfied that Miss Morosi is a person of very considerable ability, character and integrity. Naturally, I have made inquiries and it is for me to judge the character, integrity and ability of the people I appoint to my staff. I am satisfied about that. I am not going to be influenced by newspaper campaigns which have an element of the scurrilous and an element of the irresponsible. I suggest to honourable members that if I had chosen a man or even a woman who was not good looking, perhaps nothing would have happened.

The second matter referred to as a blemish by the honourable member for New England (Mr Sinclair) who is sitting at the table concerns a Press secretary who was in my employ for some months. During that time he behaved extremely well. As the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) has just said, an incident happened in Peking following a banquet. I do not think that Mr Green was the first man associated with a Minister in this Parliament who got a little under the weather. That is not an uncommon event. He had resigned beforehand. This was his last job. I do not take that serious a view of it. I regret that it happened. I made sure that he apologised and made redress to those in whose presence he had misbehaved. But I do not think it is a national question and I do not think the honourable gentleman at the table is being fair when he regards that as a blemish and associates it with me.

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