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Wednesday, 30 August 1972
Page: 987

Mr Enderby asked the Minister representing the Minister for Air, upon notice:

(1)   ls an airman in the R.A.A.F. permitted to address a redress of grievance that has been dismissed by the Air Board to the Minister for Air; if so, what authority gives him this right.

(2)   If he has this right, is there an apparent conflict between this permission and regulation 153 of the Air Force Regulations.

(3)   If an airman is permitted to address himself to the Minister for Air, are any steps being taken to amend regulation 153.

(4)   Is there a discrimination against airmen in the Air Force Regulations that restricts an airman to a right of redress to the Air Board, whereas an officer has an extended right of redress beyond that to the Governor-General in Council; if so, will the Minister remove this discrimination against airmen.

(5)   Do Air Force Orders or Regulations forbid members of the R.A.A.F. from requesting the assistance of a Member of Parliament when they have complaints.

(6)   If so, (a) what are the orders or rules and (b) what punishment is provided for any breach.

(7)   How many cases of redress of grievance have been upheld by (a) the Air Board and (b) the Governor-General in Council in each of the last 5 years.

Mr Holten - The Minister for Air has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: (1-3), (5) and (6) Air Force Regulation 153 does not provide for a redress of grievance by an airman which has been dismissed by the Air Board, to be addressed to the Minister for Air. Neither Air Force Orders nor Air Force Regulations specifically forbid members of the RAAF from requesting the assistance of a Member of Parliament when they have complaints. However, Air Force Orders do provide that a member shall not use any method of obtaining redress of grievances other than those prescribed by regulations or authorised by the Orders. Air Force Orders also provide that no consideration will be given to complaints made in breach of regulations or of the Orders.

(4)   Air Force Regulation 153 provides for either an officer or an airman who considers himself wronged to complain in succession to superior authorities up to and including the Air Board. If an officer is dissatisfied with the decision of the Air Board he may require that his complaint be referred to the Governor-General in Council. The distinction between officers and other ranks in this respect is a long-standing one. The matter is one which has been raised and is under consideration in the Department of Defence.

(7)   Under existing procedures, grievances may be capable of redress by nominated Service authorities at a lower level than Air Board - for example, by a Commanding Officer or an Officer Commanding the command in which the aggrieved member is serving. Of the grievances referred to Air Board or higher level, the following were upheld:


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