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Monday, 8 October 1984
Page: 1885

(Question No. 1750)

Mr Ruddock asked the Minister for Administrative Services, upon notice, on 6 September 1984:

(1) Has the Minister's attention been drawn to a memorandum, dated 1 June 1984, to all permanent heads, heads of statutory authorities and staff organisations from the Secretary of the Public Service Board, concerning encouragement of union membership.

(2) Was the memorandum brought to the attention of all staff in the Minister's Department and all statutory authorities reporting to the Minister; is so, how and on what dates.

(3) What additional action has been taken within the Minister's Department and statutory authorities reporting to the Minister to avoid delays in constructive action being taken to encourage union membership and on what dates; if no additional action has been taken, what are the reasons for such a decision.

Mr John Brown —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) A memorandum from the Public Service Board entitled 'Encouragement of Union Membership' was received in the Department on 6 June, 1984. The full extent of the memorandum was published in the Department's Staff Bulletin (No. 1984/22) dated 21 June, 1984.

(3) Action is proceeding on a review of existing practices and procedures in the Department and the development and introduction of any additional practices and procedures necessary to ensure compliance with the Public Service Board's advice. Existing practices include advice to Unions, on request, of the names of potential members employed in the Department and inviting representatives of appropriate unions to address new recruits attending induction courses. In addition, the Department employs a large industrial workforce, including car and transport drivers, storemen, printing tradesmen and associated staff, which is almost fully unionised.

The responsibility for the Commonwealth Accommodation and Catering Services Limited (CACS) also falls within my portfolio. The Company, which is wholly owned by the Commonwealth, has operation and management responsibility for food, beverage and accommodation services in Commonwealth premises. The Company encourages its employees to be members of a trade union or other employee association which has coverage of the operations. Because of the policy adopted by the Company, a large number of its employees are members of the relevant union or staff association.