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Thursday, 29 October 1970

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

(1)   Is it a fact that a Service Standards and Customer Relations Section has been set up by the Post Office in each State of tte Commonwealth.

(2)   Is it part of the functions of this section to tape telephone conversations from main trunk exchanges.

(3)   If so, for what period of each day are these functions carried out.

(4)   How many officers are engaged in this function in each State.

(5)   Are recorded telephone conversations played back and analysed.

(6)   For what length of time are tapes of such conversations held by his Department after recording.

Mr HULME (PETRIE, QUEENSLAND) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   No. Telephone congersations between subscribers have not been taped in trunk exchanges anywhere in Australia. However, an arrangement, now discontinued had been in operation in some States for a number of years whereby a small sample of trouble report calls made by subscribers to the Service Difficulties Centre was from time to time taped in order to improve the handling of public complaints and difficulties. In each case this was done with the knowledge and acceptance of the staff association to which the telephone operators belong. All tapes were erased under supervision immediately their operating purpose bad been served. These records were taken by officers of the Department in the course of their duties in connection with die operation of the telephone system; they were therefore within the terms of the Telephone Communications (Interception) Act. (3), (4), (5) and (6) See answer to (2).

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