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Tuesday, 13 October 1970

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

(1)   Is it a fact that members of the Commonwealth Public Service Board are not permanently appointed and may be replaced at the end of their appointed term.

(2)   Are members of the Board expected to act independently of Government policy.

(3)   If so, what guarantee is given to members of the Board that re-appointment is not prejudiced by decisions that are independent of, and in any given case opposed to, Government policy.

(4)   In view of the fact that presidential members of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission are appointed for life and Conciliation Commissioners are appointed until they attain the age of 65 years, will he give consideration to amending the Public Service Act in such a way as to give to all members of the Public Service Board the same tenure of office and opportunity for independence as is already enjoyed by Conciliation Commissioners.

Mr Gorton - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   and (3) The duties, powers and conditions of appointment of members of the Public Service Board are set out in the Public Service Act 1922-1968.

(4)   A presidential member of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission may hold office until death only if he is a Judge of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration.

It is customary for Parliament to provide that Commonwealth statutory officers be appointed for fixed terms, for example, the Public Service Arbitrator, the Commissioner and Second Commissioners of Taxation and the Chairman of the Tariff Board. This has been the practice for many years.

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