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Wednesday, 30 May 1973
Page: 2867

Mr CORBETT (Maranoa) - I thank the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) for allowing me to say a few words at this late stage in the debate. I also thank my colleague the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Fisher) for limiting his remarks. My colleague has drawn attention to some of the factors related to employment in electoral offices. I have a question or two to ask the Minister about that aspect. The honourable member for Mallee mentioned that there does not seem to be a great deal of opportunity for advancement and promotion in the Electoral Office. As 1 understand it - and I would like the Minister's confirmation - employees of the Electoral Office have an opportunity to transfer to another department. I ask the Minister whether any disadvantages would apply in such transfers in addition to the advantages which have been enumerated by previous speakers in this debate.

I join with previous speakers in appreciation of the work that has been done by divisional returning officers and their staffs. The honourable member for Mallee referred to the staff in his divisional electoral office. In the divisional office in my electorate a problem arose at the last election because of flooding. The staff there went to no end of trouble and were subjected to a great deal of strain in deciding whether the election should be held on the scheduled day in that division. The divisional returning officer earned great credit for himself, his staff and the temporary staff in seeing that the election was conducted so efficiently.

My concern is limited to asking a question of the Minister. Are there any disadvantages in respect of promotions or transfers which will apply to the staff of the Electoral Office working in a statutory body as compared with the present position? As the honourable member for Mallee has pointed out, prospective staff for these offices, in view of the slowness of advancement, could be deterred from joining the Electoral Office if they were to be confined to a particular office. Is there a right of appeal against appointments related to the change? I welcome the upgrading of the Electoral Office and commend the Minister for it. I would be pleased to have his advice about any disadvantages which may accrue and whether provision should be made to eliminate any that do arise. In this way the type of staff that we all want to see working in the Electoral Office generally would be encouraged to join that organisation.

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