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Tuesday, 5 October 1971
Page: 1910

Dr Everingham asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

(1)   Has his attention been drawn to reports that the United States Navy, New York Times and others have converted or are converting all their typewriters to the Dvorak simplified keyboard.

(2)   If so, has it been shown to (a) improve typing speed by one third, (b) halve training time and reduce fatigue, as the fingers of a fast typist would travel only one mile a day instead of 20 miles, (c) reduce errors by eliminating 98 per cent of shifts of fingers between rows and (d) increase productivity at an estimated $2 million a day for a community the size of Britain's as compared with the standard keyboard which was originally designed to slow down the operator to reduce clashing of type bars.

(3)   Will the Government send representatives of the armed and civil services concerned with typing training to the United States to study the use of this system and to recommend and effect changed specifications for typewriters and changed typing training programmes for Commonwealth employees.

Mr McMahon - The answer to the honourable member's question is:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   The Public Service Board is at present studying the information available on this system including studies previously made by the Board when the system first came to its attention many years ago.

(3)   It is not proposed at present to send officers overseas to examine this matter.

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