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Thursday, 9 March 1972
Page: 611

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON (New South Wales) (Minister for Health) (12.26)-

I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to amend section 50 of the Public Service Act 1922-1968. This section deals with the transfer and promotion of officers within the Commonwealth Public Service, and the system under which an appeal against the selection of an officer for promotion may be made by any other officer who may consider himself more entitled to promotion than the officer selected. The section establishes committees, called Promotions Appeal Committees, which are required to make full inquiries into the claims of any appellant and the officer who has been promoted. These Committees consist of an independent chairman, an officer nominated by the Permanent Head of the department in which the promotion was made and an officer nominated by the appropriate staff association.

At the present, where a provisional promotee and an appellant perform their duties in different States, the Act requires the Promotions Appeal Committees in the relevant States to hear the appeals and make reports to the Public Service Board. The Board then determines the appeal. The question of interstate appeals has been considered in recent times by the Joint Council, an employer-employee body constituted under the Public Service Act to advise the Public Service Board on conditions of service. The Joint Council recommended that a 'review' promotions appeal committee be set up to consider the reports of State Promotions Appeal Committees and, within prescribed limits, to determine the appeals.

The Government has accepted the desirability of amending the Act to meet this proposal. The Bill therefore provides for the establishment of Central Promotions Appeal Committees. It requires that reports of State Committees in cases where all the parties to the appeal do not perform their duties in the one State, be referred to a Central Committee for examination and for any further inquiries it considers necessary. The Central Promotions Appeal Committees will have the same powers of determination as State Committees. In the drafing of the Bill the opportunity has been taken to revise various detailed provisions relating to the present promotions appeal system, particularly in relation to cases where there are 2 or more appellants. If honourable senators so desire, these amendments can be explained in more detail during the Committee stage of the Bill. I commend the Bill to the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator O'Byrne) adjourned.

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