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Thursday, 22 May 1980
Page: 3213


Dr Cass asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 6 March 1980:

(1)   What specific (a) skills and (b) experience in dealing with and being sensitive to the specific needs of ethnic communities are required of persons employed in the Ethnic Affairs Branch of his Department

(2)   What (a) numbers and classifications and (b) percentage of the people, staff or advisers working with or within this Branch are from the (i) Italian, (ii) Greek, (iti) Yugoslav, (iv) Arabic, and ( v) other ethnic communities.


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

(1)   and (2) The skills and experience required vary according to the nature of the particular position. Speaking generally, the Branch has recruited persons with skills and experience in social policy formulation and analysis, program evaluation, social research, community liaison, program development and servicing advisory bodies. The staff have an understanding of immigration and ethnic affairs policies and objectives, awareness of the special needs of migrants generally and of particular migrant groups; many are themselves migrants and have language skills. There is a wide range of ethnic backgrounds among staff in the Branch.

The Department does not maintain information of the kind sought in part (2) of the question. Some staff might well regard enquiries of this nature as an invasion of their privacy. Employment in the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs is in conformity with the general requirement that officers should meet the normal requirements for employment in the Commonwealth Public Service. It is for consideration whether a requirement that a person should or should not be a first generation migrant or should or should not be from a particular ethnic background would be in conflict with the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.

There is, in fact, a range of ethnic backgrounds among staff employed in the Branch. Most ofthe staff are graduates in disciplines relevant to the functions of the Branch. Many of the staff are involved in community activities involving the sorts of groups referred to by the honourable member.







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