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Thursday, 11 October 1984
Page: 2248

(Question No. 1735)

Mr Ruddock asked the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, 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 Willis —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) In June 1984, the memorandum was circulated in the Department and to the statutory authority reporting to the Minister-the Australian Trade Union Training Authority.

(3) There have been discussions between the Department and unions on matters covered by the Board's circular and steps have already been taken to facilitate union membership. For example, the Department has a policy of encouraging union representatives to conduct information sessions at staff induction courses; information on union membership and activities is included in staff induction material; union noticeboards are provided in agreed locations within Departmental premises. These arrangements have been implemented on a progressive basis within the various offices of the Department. I would also add that the Department was amongst the first to establish at the national and State levels consultative bodies with unions having membership within the Department.

The Australian Trade Union Training Authority takes similar steps to facilitate union membership.