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Tuesday, 10 September 1985
Page: 320


Senator CROWLEY —Has the attention of the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Public Service Matters been drawn to reports that former staff of members of parliament are being given `accelerated promotion' on their return to the Australian Public Service? Is there any truth in these allegations?


Senator WALSH —I am aware of reports along the lines outlined by Senator Crowley and criticisms published in the Canberra Times on 29 and 30 August from a Mr Barker, the President of the Foreign Affairs Association and a Mr David Connolly who, I understand, until yesterday was the Opposition's spokesman on Public Service matters.


Senator Peter Baume —He still is.


Senator WALSH —I withdraw that. The bodies on the decks of the Liberal Party Titanic move around so frequently that I think I could be excused for not managing to be fully aware of the most insignificant of them and their present positions.

Specifically, those criticisms dealt with the reintegration into the Public Service of officers returning after they had worked for a period with members of the House of Representatives or senators. The reintegration process is designed to ensure that such people are not disadvantaged in their subsequent Public Service careers. It also ensures that they cannot be subject to any political interference.

The Reintegration Assessment Committee determines the level at which such officers return to the Service having regard to such things as their previous classification, the duration of employment, the nature of duties they performed and so on. To date six cases have been considered by the Committee, three of which served a period working for Ministers, one for a Government back bench member of parliament and two for Opposition senators. The public complaints about the reintegration process have begun only since the return to the Australian Public Service of a staff member who was previously attached to the office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, even though there were previous cases involving staff of Liberal senators, the subsequent Public Service levels of whom were determined by the Reintegration Committee. In the particular case to which I refer, Ms Mara Moustafine had served as a Class 9 officer-


Senator Chaney —Mr President, I raise a point of order. I do not think there is anything in the Standing Orders that prevents the Minister from boring the Senate. This is a very long answer to a question that I would have thought could be answered reasonably briefly. Many honourable senators are seeking to ask questions, and I wonder whether the Minister can give us a shorter reply.


The PRESIDENT —Order! There is no point of order.


Senator WALSH —I have cut out as much extraneous detail from the text that has been supplied as possible. Since November 1981 Ms Moustafine had served as a Class 9 officer in the Office of National Assessments and the Department of Foreign Affairs and then, for something more than 18 months, was attached to the office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The fuss in this case has been stirred up by, among others, the honourable member for Mayo, who I understand is Mr Alexander Downer, a former officer of the Australian Public Service in the Department of Foreign Affairs. On 4 August he issued a statement which, among other things, referred to `jobs for the boys', `preferential promotion' for former ministerial staff members, and `parachuting political cronies into senior Public Service positions'. I have written to Mr Downer suggesting that he retract his insinuations that Ms Moustafine's case was dealt with improperly and that he apologise both to Ms Moustafine and to the officers concerned. I have not yet received a reply. I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard the details of the six public servants to whom I referred earlier who have served terms of varying lengths in ministerial, members of parliament or senators' offices and who have been subsequently reintegrated into the Public Service.

Leave granted.

The document read as follows-

Name

Date of

application

MOPS Act

employer(s)

Public Service

Department

Previous

classification

Length of

service

with MP

Classification

determined

by RAC

Louise Turner...

15 November 1984

The Hon. Gordon Scholes, MP

Social Security, Victoria

Clerical Administrative, Class 1

9 years

8 months

Clerical Administrative, Class 5

Colleen Waide...

8 January 1985

Ken Fry, MP/ John Langmore, MP

Arts Heritage &Environment

Clerical Administrative, Class 1

7 months

Clerical Administrative, Class 5

Milton Catelin...

8 January 1985

Senator Messner

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Clerical Administrative, Class 1

1 year

Clerical Administrative, Class 6

John McEwan...

27 February 1985

The Hon. Chris Hurford, MP

Housing and Construction

Clerical Administrative, Class 9

2 years

Clerical Administrative, Class 11

Lorraine Doherty...

14 December 1984

Senator Lajovic

Administrative Services

Clerical Administrative, Class 1

10 years

(approx.)

Clerical Administrative, Class 6

Mara Moustafine...

3 June 1985

The Hon. Bill Hayden, MP

Foreign Affairs

Clerical Administrative, Class 9

1 year

7 months

Clerical Administrative, Class 11


Senator WALSH —I draw attention to the fact that one public servant who served a one-year term in Senator Messner's office entered as a Class 1 and was reintegrated as a Class 6. That was a difference of five classes. In Ms Moustafine's case the difference in classification after 18 months with the Minister for Foreign Affairs was two classes. Yet Mr Downer, who saw fit to smear quite improperly both Ms Moustafine and the Public Service officers who serve on the reintegration Committee, was apparently not at all disturbed by the case concerning Senator Messner's office.