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Thursday, 14 September 1972
Page: 1383

Dr SOLOMON (DENISON, TASMANIA) - I preface my question to the Prime Minister by reminding the right honourable gentleman that nearly 6 months ago he received representations from the Private Secretaries Association seeking a review of the basis on which payment is made for overtime worked by private secretaries. I ask the Prime Minister whether he has yet been able to respond to its claim that private secretaries should be remunerated on an hourly basis for overtime worked as are all other members of ministerial staff. If not, when does he expect to be able to reply? Finally, in view of the particularly long hours which are worked by private secretaries and the dedicated service given by these officers to members on both sides of the Parliament, will he give his personal support to their claim in an effort to remedy an obvious inequity?

Mr McMAHON (LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Prime Minister) - The House will know that this matter is within the jurisdiction of the Public Service Board, and consequently I was under compulsion to refer it to the Board. I have been in touch with the Board on at least 2 occasions since the reference was made in an attempt to get a quick decision from it. Until 10 minutes ago I had had no reply, but I will ensure that the Secretary of my Department contacts the Chairman of the Public Service Board today to see whether the matter can be quickly resolved. As to the second part of the honourable gentleman's question, I agree with him that the position of the private secretaries needs urgent consideration. I think it should be considered on the basis that these men not only work long hours effectively but also give complete loyalty to those for whom they are working. I hope that these facts will be taken into consideration by the Public Service Board.

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