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Thursday, 11 October 1984
Page: 2223

(Question No. 1752)


Mr Ruddock asked the Minister for Science and Technology, 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; if 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 Barry Jones —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes

(2) and (3)-

The Department

Shortly after its receipt the Public Service Board's memorandum was circulated to all Divisions and Regional Offices for independent action. The question of union membership and a Departmental policy on ways to facilitate this was discussed at the Department of Science and Technology Consultative Council meeting on 4 July 1984. Subsequently a Departmental policy was circulated to all staff on 29 August 1984.

Independent action taken across the Department includes advice to staff through the circulation of staff notices and/or the PSB Bulletin No. 52 of June 1984, circulation of the PSB memorandum or its placement on notice boards and distribution of the Departmental policy on encouragement of union membership.

In many areas of the Department existing practices encourage and facilitate union membership with provision for union participation in induction courses, advice to new recruits of union coverage, information in telephone directories of a union nature, access by unions to Departmental notice boards and provision of staff lists to union delegates. The Departmental policy circulated on 29 August confirms these practices and requires all areas of the Department to facilitate union membership in these ways. The Department will sympathetically consider any reasonable requests from staff or unions for further action.

Statutory Authorities

(i) Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation The CSIRO has withheld circulation of the Public Service Board memorandum pending consideration by the CSIRO Consultative Council, a joint management/union advisory body, of the question of encouragement of union membership at its 9-10 October 1984 meeting. Following consideration by the Council of this matter a recommendation will be made to the CSIRO Executive. All staff in the organisation will be advised by a Consultative Council information release in late October of the Council's consideration of this matter. The organisation currently includes information on staff associations and unions in induction folders provided to new recruits.

(ii) National Standards Commission (NSC) The memorandum was endorsed by management and circulated to all staff on receipt. A copy was placed on the notice board. The memorandum is being further publicised through the NSC staffing committee representatives.

(iii) Anglo-Australian Telescope Board (AATB) Copies of the memorandum were displayed on the AATB's notice board on 13 June 1984. The matter was considered at the AATB's meeting on 20-22 September 1984 and it was decided that no further action be taken at this time.

(iv) Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) Copies of the memorandum were displayed on AIMS notice boards on receipt. No further action is proposed but union membership is not discouraged and union representatives are allowed on site with prior advice of an impending visit.