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Thursday, 5 December 1974
Page: 3166

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence whether the pay and conditions of the Services are as attractive as the Minister has stated on many occasions. In view of the fact that the Kerr Committee completed a very searching inquiry into all aspects of the Services pay and conditions less than 2 years ago, why has the Government appointed a psychologist to find out what is wrong with morale in the Services?

Senator BISHOP (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Postmaster-General) - The decision by the Minister for Defence in relation to an inquiry into the Services cannot be simplified by referring to the one sector of psychology. As the honourable senator knows, the criteria in respect of the inquiry have been announced. It will be an inquiry into all aspects of the Services like any other inquiry, such as those advocated by the Department of Labor and Immigration into the work force or in regard to particular industries to ensure the greatest job satisfaction. It is not a new idea. The idea of obtaining satisfactory employment performance on the part of an employee or a serviceman is many years old. In fact the Duke of Edinburgh, as everybody knows, has spent a good deal of time advocating that, industries and governments take more interest in this aspect. He inaugurated conferences on this in 1956 and I attended one such conference. The idea was to make sure that people in any field of employment, including the Services, should get the greatest satisfaction from industry. Of course the Labor Government has increased pay and improved conditions of servicemen.

Senator Drake-Brockman - How did you do that?

Senator BISHOP -You have been told this before. It is estimated that during 1974-75 a record amount of $590m, or more than 8 per cent in excess of what was spent in 1973-74, was expended by the Labor Government on improved conditions and increased pay. As the honourable senator knows, for many years when he was Minister for Air and all the Services had separate Ministers, servicemen had great difficulty in getting improved payments. They were all subject to determination and often our own Regulations and Ordinances Committee delayed payments because the claims involved retrospectivity. We have put this on a proper basis. In addition, as the honourable senator would know, we have increased pension payments and because of this some officers have resigned. Then the honourable senator asks: What is wrong with the Services?' I suggest that what we are doing in relation to the inquiry into the Services is what any intelligent management would do in respect of any field of employment, whether it be the Services or ordinary industry.

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