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Tuesday, 29 August 1972
Page: 513

Senator KANE (NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice:

(1)   Did the Commonwealth Gazette of 20th January 1972 advertise the following vacant position in the Melbourne office of the Industrial Registrar's Branch of the Attorney-General's Department:

Clerk $7020-7559 (Class 6), Third Division. Duties - Carry out special projects and research as directed by the Industrial Registrar. Qualifications - Tertiary education, preferably in Economics or Sociology and that the position was open to permanent

Commonwealth Public Servants only.

(2)   Were applicants advised on 23rd February 1972 by the Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department that the position would be filled on a temporary basis for a period of 2 years.

(3)   How many applications were received from permanent officers of the Commonwealth Public Service for the position.

(4)   Were any of these applicants inteviewed; if so, bow many and; if not, why not.

(5)   Do any of these applicants possess university or other academic qualifications.

(6)   Are tertiary qualifications mandatory for the position; if so. " hal qualifications.

(7)   Since the position was advertised as open only to Commonwealth Public Servants, how did it come about that applications were received from persons outside the Commonwealth Public Service.

(8)   Were persons from outside the Commonwealth Public Sevice invited to apply; if so. how many.

(9)   Did the Industrial Registrar, Dr 1. Sharpe, invite persons from outside the Sevice to apply.

(10)   On what date did the person eventually selected to fill the position apply.

(11)   When did he lake tip duty.

(12)   Does the Minister consider thai the duties of this position, being a special projects officer for the Head of a very important and often controversial Branch, arc such that a temporary employee can be brought in to fill the position and be privy to important Commonwealth confidential information.

(13)   Whose decision was it that there was no suitable applicant from within the Commonwealth Service.

(14)   Are there procedures to safeguard the rights of permanent Commonwealth Public Servants in such cases; if so, what are they and were they followed in this case.

(15)   On what basis was the period of 2 years temporary appointment - obtained, and is this a normal time limit.

(16)   When a person is appointed under these circumstances, do permanent officers have any right of appeal to the Promotion Appeals Committee to have their claims determined by an independent tribunal.

(17)   Are there any additional safeguards against the possibilities of political engagements.

(18)   Are the procedures going to be strengthened to prevent such possibilities.

Senator GREENWOOD (VictoriaAttorneyGeneral) The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1)   A position, No. 105, Clerk (Class 6) $7020- 7559, attached to the Melbourne office of the Industrial Registrar, was advertised in the Commonwealth Gazette of 20th January 1972 with duties as indicated in the honourable senator's question. The qualifications were 'Tertiary education, preferably in Economics or Sociology, with evidence of ability to analyse and write clearly'. The advertisement sought applications from officers of the Commonwealth Service.

(2)   Applicants were advised on 23rd February 1972 by the Attorney-General's Department that the postion would be filled on a temporary basis for a period of 2 years.

(3)   Sixteen.

(4)   No. The Industrial Registrar concluded after a careful perusal of the applications that none of the applicants was suitable for the position concerned. My Department concurred in this view, as did the Public Service Inspector for Victoria who authorised the employment of the person concerned.

(5)   Yes. Six applicants had a university degree but only one had a degree of the types listed a« preferable in the advertisement.

(6)   No.

(7)   The Gazette advertisement did not attract applications from persons outside the Commonwealth Public Service.

(8)   No.

(9)   No.

(10)   The person selected did not submit a formal application for the particular position. However, together with many other graduands he wrote to the Industrial Registrar towards the end of 1971 academic year indicating his interest in a research position in the Registrar's Office an( enclosing a statement of his qualifications. This statement was dated 6th October 197 1 .

(11)   1st March 1972.

(12)   Yes.

(13)   See answer to (4) above.

(14)   Yes. The Public Service Inspector in the Slate concerned considers each case and determines whether there is an officer available in the Commonwealth Service who is as capable of filling the vacancy as the person selected.

(15)   lt is considered that, in the circumstances involved, a minimum period of 2 years and a maximum of 3 years is the most desirable term of engagement. A period of less than 2 years would not allow the employee concerned to maximise his contribution to the work of the Branch and it is unlikely that he will wish to remain for a longer period than 3 years. There is no standard period for a temporary engagement and periods of temporary employment vary, according to circumstances. Extension beyond 12 months requires the approval of the Public Service Board or its delegate. (16), (17) and (18) There is no right of appeal to a Promotions Appeal Committee. However, a permanent officer has a right of appeal under Public Service Regulation 33 to the Chief Officer and the Permanent Head of his Department and ultimately to the Public Service Board, if he considers he has grounds of complaint arising out of any official instruction or from any other cause. The Public Service Board has the responsibility for appointments and employment under the Public Service Act. The Board acts independently in the exercise of its statutory powers and is not subject to political direction. I am not aware of any proposal to change these procedures.

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