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Governor-General Act - Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General - Report - Period - 24 December 1984 to 30 June 1985 (1st)


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The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia

OFFICE OF THE OFFICIAL SECRETARY TO T H E GOVERNOR- GENERAL

First Report

24 December 1984 to 30 June 1985

Presented 15 October 1985 Ordered to be printed 17 October 1985

Parliamentary Paper No. 311/1985

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OFFICE OF THE OFFICIAL SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL

FIRST REPORT 24 December 1984 — 30 June 1985

A ustralian G overnm ent Publishing Service C anberra 1985

© Commonwealth of Australia 1985 ISSN 0816-2670

Printed by Canberra Publishing & Printing Co., 22 Pirie St., Fyshwick, A.C.T.

G overnm ent H ouse, C anberra, A.C.T. 2600

30 S eptem ber 1985

D ear Prim e M inister,

T his is th e first rep o rt o f the new statutory office of Official Secretary to the G overnor-G eneral, u n d e r the Governor-General Act 1974. Legislation creating the office was proclaim ed, and the first a p p o in tm en t was m ade, by the

G overnor-G eneral in Council on 24 D ecem ber 1984. T his first re p o rt is th erefo re for the period 24 D ecem ber 1984 to 30 Ju n e 1985.

Yours sincerely,

(David I. Smith) Official Secretary to the G overnor-G eneral

T h e H onourable R.J.L. Hawke, A.C., M.P. Prim e M inister Parliam ent H ouse C an b erra, A.C.T. 2600

Contents

In tro d u ctio n 1

Functions Staffing Personal Staff

Official Staff A ustralian H onours Secretariat Dom estic Staff G ard en in g Staff

Financial and Personnel M anagem ent A ustralian H onours System T h e Official Secretaries A cknow ledgem ents

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Introduction

In 1984 P arliam ent am en d ed the Governor-General Act 1974 to provide for the establishm ent o f th e office o f the Official Secretary to the G overnor- G eneral. A p p o intm ent to the office was to be m ade by the G overnor-G eneral in Council, and the Official Secretary was em pow ered to em ploy staff of the

G overnor-G eneral on beh alf o f the C om m onw ealth. T h e am endm ents to the Governor-General Act 1974 were contained in Part VI o f the Public Service Reform Act 1984. T h e latter Act received the Royal assent on 24 J u n e 1984, the am endm ents to the form er Act w ere proclaim ed

to come into operation on 24 D ecem ber 1984, and the first a p p o in tm en t to the new statutory office was m ade by the G overnor-G eneral in Council on the sam e day. Mr David I. Sm ith, C.V.O., who has held the non-statutory office o f Official Secretary to the G overnor-G eneral since 1973, was

ap p o in ted to the statutory office. T h e Official Secretary holds office d u rin g the G overnor-G eneral’s pleasure. Prior to the 1984 am endm ents to the Governor-General Act 1974 the G overnor-G eneral’s staff were form ally p a rt o f the D epartm ent o f the Prim e

M inister and Cabinet, a n d the D epartm ent provided adm inistrative support services to the G overnor-G eneral’s Office. Since 24 D ecem ber 1984, the Official Secretary has had the sole responsibility for the em ploym ent of staff and by 1 July 1985 will have assum ed full responsibility for the financial

m an ag em en t o f the Office.

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Functions

T his re p o rt is that o f the new Office o f the Official Secretary to the

G overnor-G eneral and n ot th at of the G overnor-G eneral himself. N everthe­ less it is ap p ro p riate, in this first report, to say som ething o f Vice-Regal activities since it is with the su p p o rt o f them that the Office o f the Official Secretary is concerned.

G overnors-G eneral have always had responsibilities u n d e r the C onstitu­ tion and duties u n d e r Royal Letters P atent a n d u n d e r very m any laws o f the C om m onw ealth. H ow ever, in addition, G overnors-G eneral have increasingly becom e involved in nation-w ide com m unity activities, and this involvem ent

has in recent years com e to play a large p art in the Vice-Regal role, no doubt reflecting the great grow th in national aw areness a n d in the econom ic and com m unity life o f A ustralia. T h e range and variety o f these activities, additional to constitutional

responsibilities and statutory and o th er duties, does not p erm it o f any

detailed description in this rep o rt, but some im pression o f their scope can be given. T h e G overnor-G eneral an d his wife accept as m any as possible o f the invitations to open and atten d the m any significant national and in te rn atio n ­ al conferences and m eetings o f societies an d institutions which now take place in Australia. T hey atten d m ajor public gatherings and academ ic occasions, present m ajor awards for m erit a n d achievem ent, and attend

functions o f the m any com m unity organisations o f which they are patrons or principal office bearers. O n their frequent travels th ro u g h o u t A ustralia they visit local com m unity activities and institutions, giving recognition to valuable contributions to com m unity welfare and to the work and achieve­

m ent o f A ustralians th ro u g h o u t the nation. Each year they receive m any h u ndreds o f callers and e n tertain m any thousands o f guests at functions held at G overnm ent H ouse, C anberra, and A dm iralty H ouse, Sydney, and the houses are open to the public on

occasions th ro u g h o u t th e year. Visiting H eads o f State and o th er disting­ uished overseas visitors to A ustralia are en tertain ed and often accom m o­ dated at the Vice-Regal residences, and reciprocal official visits are m ade overseas.

f h e budget and staffing requirem ents o f the Office o f the Official

Secretary to the G overnor-G eneral are largely a reflection o f the response which the G overnor-G eneral is able to make in satisfaction o f the responsibi­ lities and duties and involvem ent in com m unity activities which are outlined above.

As with any C om m onw ealth dep artm en t or agency, the budget and staffing of the G overnor-G eneral's Office are also subject to the financial and stalling policies o f the G overnm ent o f the day, and the Official Secretary is now answ erable to the Prim e M inister and to the Com m onw ealth Parliam ent f° r the p ro p er exp en d itu re of public m oneys ap p ro p riated for the

G overnor-G eneral's use and for the p ro p er em ploym ent o f staff for the G overnor-G eneral on beh alf o f the Com m onw ealth. In addition to providing such support as the G overnor-G eneral may require in the discharge o f his constitutional, legislative and cerem onial

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duties, th e Official Secretary is also directly answ erable to the G overnor- G eneral for the in tern al operation and m anagem ent o f the G overnor-

G en eral’s Office and establishm ents. T hese responsibilities are not, and by th eir very natu re cannot be, covered by legislation and, o f course, they lie outside the scope o f this report.

Staffing

T h e staff of the G overnor-G eneral are em ployed u n d e r the Governor-General Act 1974. T hey are em ployed by the Official Secretary, on beh alf of the C om m onw ealth, u n d e r w ritten agreem ents, an d their term s a n d conditions o f em ploym ent are generally those applicable to the A ustralian Public

Service. C om m onw ealth Public Servants who jo in the G overnor-G eneral’s staff are deem ed to be on leave w ithout pay from the Service, although they preserve their rights and entitlem ents u n d e r the Public Service Act 1922. T h e staff o f the G overnor-G eneral’s Office consists of:

• Personal Staff 8 (includes 4 m ilitary stall)

• Of ficial Staff 15

• A ustralian H o nours Secretariat 7

• Dom estic S taff 32

• G ardening Staff i6

P ersonal Staff

In addition to the Official Secretary (who is on leave from the D epartm ent of the Prim e M inister a n d Cabinet), the G overnor-G eneral’s personal staff com prises the D eputy Official Secretary (on leave from the D epartm ent of Foreign Affairs); the Military Secretary/C om ptroller (on secondm ent from

the Defence Force — currently an RAAF officer); the Research O fficer (on leave from the D ep artm en t o f the Senate); three A ides-de-Cam p (on

secondm ent from the Defence Force — one from each o f the Services); and H er Excellency’s Private Secretary (on leave from the N ational Library).

O fficial Staff

T h e official staff, h eaded by the Senior Executive Officer, assist with the han d lin g of parliam entary, constitutional, diplom atic, honours and other m atters dealt with by the G overnor-G eneral, and provide adm inistrative, clerical and keyboard services. T h e tran sfer o f finance, accounting, person­

nel and o th er adm inistrative functions form erly handled by the D epartm ent o f the Prime M inister and C abinet for and on behalf o f the Governor-

G en eral’s Office has resulted in additional workloads and increased responsi­ bilities for some existing staff, as well as a rearran g em en t of duties and procedures for others. Tw o new positions were created, and reclassifications for two existing positions were determ ined, by the Official Secretary, with the concurrence o f the Public Service Board. E m ploym ent agreem ents u n d e r the

Governor-General Act 1974 were developed in conjunction with the Public

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Service Board, while personnel, financial an d o th er adm inistrative records and procedures were established with the help o f the D ep artm en t o f the Prim e M inister and Cabinet.

A ustralian H onours Secretariat

T h e A ustralian H onours Secretariat, headed by the D irector o f H onours, consists of research, adm inistrative, clerical an d keyboard staff. T h e ir task is to adm inister the A ustralian honours system, which was established by T h e Q ueen, on the advice of h e r A ustralian Prim e M inister, on 14 February 1975, and to service two advisory com m ittees which rep o rt to the G overnor- G eneral — the Council for the O rd er o f A ustralia and the A ustralian

Decorations Advisory C om m ittee. T he Official Secretary to the G overnor- G eneral is Secretary to these two Com m ittees. (F u rth er com m ent on the staffing of the Secretariat will be found later in this re p o rt u n d e r the heading Australian Honours System.)

D om estic Staff

T he dom estic staff, headed by the Butler, is responsible for housekeeping services, the prep aratio n and serving o f meals, dom estic laundry service, and caretaking and m inor m aintenance at both G overnm ent H ouse, C anberra, and A dm iralty H ouse, Sydney.

F our o f these staff are based at A dm iralty H ouse. A dditional dom estic staf f from G overnm ent H ouse accom pany T h e ir Excellencies w henever they move to the Sydney residence. T h e C anberra-based staff at G overnm ent H ouse includes a tran sp o rt section o f three chauffeurs.

G ardening Staff

l'he grounds o f G overnm ent H ouse are cared for by a team o f eleven

gardening staff from the City Parks A dm inistration o f the D epartm ent o f T erritories. At A dm iralty H ouse the team o f five is provided by the Royal Botanic G ardens, Sydney. T h e grounds of both official residences are open

to the public on occasions th ro u g h o u t the year; concerts are held in them , and charitable organisations hold fetes in them . T h e m aintenance o f both sets of grounds is the responsibility o f the G overnor-G eneral’s Office, and the costs o f wages, adm inistrative overheads and o th er associated gardening expenses are reim bursed to both organisations from the G overnor-G eneral’s appropriations.

It is intended that, as soon as it is practicable in the 1985— 86 financial year, gardening staff at both establishm ents will be directly em ployed by the Official Secretary. All existing gardening staff will be invited to jo in the G overnor-G eneral’s staff, and discussions have com m enced with the C om ­ m onw ealth and New South Wales Public Service Boards, and the City Parks A dm inistration in C anberra and the Royal Botanic G ardens in Sydney, to ensure that existing conditions o f service and o th er entitlem ents are

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protected for those m em bers o f the present g ard en in g team s who choose to transfer.

F inancial and P ersonn el M anagem ent

Prior to the establishm ent o f the office o f Official Secretary as a statutory office, final responsibility for the prep aratio n o f the financial estim ates for the G overnor-G eneral’s O ffice, for incurring and accounting for exp en d itu re u n d e r these ap p ro p riatio n s, an d for the recruitm ent, paym ent o f salaries and

allowances, and the application o f conditions of service for the Personal, Official and H onours S ecretariat staff, lay with the D epartm ent o f the Prim e M inister and C abinet, alth o u g h the Official Secretary and o th er m em bers of the G overnor-G eneral’s staff were responsible for identifying fu tu re req u ire­

m ents, providing initial estim ates o f ex p en d itu re, initiating and m onitoring ex p en d itu re d u rin g the course o f the financial year, and for the em ploym ent o f Domestic Staff. Following establishm ent o f the statutory office, d u rin g the period

covered by this first rep o rt, two new positions were established and filled to p rep are for the setting u p of a Personnel a n d Finance Office and to assist with identifying and establishing a p p ro p riate procedures, systems and records in readiness fo r 1 July 1985, when the G overnor-G eneral’s Office will assum e full responsibility for the G overnor-G eneral’s ap p ropriations, ex­

p en d itu re and staffing. For the first tim e, m em bers o f the Governor-

G eneral’s staff were directly involved in negotiations with the D ep artm en t of Finance in the p rep aratio n o f estim ates o f ex p enditure for the G overnor- G eneral’s Office, for the 1985-86 financial year. W hile new staff ap p o in tm en ts were being m ade and new systems and

procedures were being established, and because the D epartm ent o f the Prim e M inister and Cabinet had m anaged expenditures u n d e r the Governor- G eneral’s app ro p riatio n s for the first half of the 1984— 85 financial year, that D epartm ent continued to adm inister the accounts for the G overnor-

G eneral’s Office d u rin g the second half o f the financial year, which is the period covered by this rep o rt. Details of the G overnor-G eneral’s a p p ro p ria ­ tions and ex p enditure for 1984-85 are th erefo re not included in this report. Financial details o f the G overnor-G eneral’s Office will be included in the

re p o rt o f the Official Secretary for the 1985-86 financial year.

A ustralian H onours System

T h e A ustralian H o n o u rs System was established by T h e Q ueen on 14 February 1975. O n th at day, acting on the advice of her A ustralian Prim e M inister, H er Majesty signed Letters Patent establishing:

• the O rd e r o f A ustralia — ‘a society o f h o n o u r for the purpose o f

according recognition to A ustralian citizens and o th er persons for achievem ent or for m eritorious service’; • the A ustralian Bravery Decorations — ‘for the purpose o f according recognition to A ustralian citizens and o th er persons who perform acts

o f bravery’; and

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• the N ational M edal — ‘fo r the purp o se o f according recognition to person who re n d e r long service in certain occupations’. (T he occupations currently prescribed are police, fire and am bulance services, although originally m em bers o f the Defence Force also were

included.) O n 28 May 1982, again on the advice o f h e r A ustralian Prim e M inister, T h e Q ueen added to the A ustralian Flonours System by signing Letters Patent establishing th e Defence Force Service Awards, com prising:

• the D efence Force Service Medal; • the Reserve Force D ecoration; and • the Reserve Force Medal.

T hese aw ards were established ‘for the purpose o f according recognition to persons who ren d e r long and efficient service as m em bers o f the D efence Force and to certain o th e r persons who re n d e r long and efficient service in association with the Defence Force’.

T h e G overnor-G eneral, as C hancellor o f the O rd er o f A ustralia, is

charged with the adm inistration o f the O rder. Flis Excellency also has the responsibility for adm inistering all of the o th e r elem ents o f the A ustralian H onours System, i.e. the A ustralian Bravery Decorations, the National Medal, and the Defence Force Service Awards. T h e various L etters Patent, and the C onstitution an d Regulations ordained u n d e r those Letters Patent by T h e Q ueen, a te adm inistered from G overnm ent H ouse, C anberra, w here the A ustralian Flonours Secretariat has been established as part of the staff of the G overnor-G eneral's Office. T h e G overnor-G eneral has ap p o in ted the Official Secretary to be the Secretary of the O rd e r o f Australia. T h e person who holds that office is also Secretary o f the Council fo r the O rd e r o f

A ustralia and Secretary o f the A ustralian Decorations Advisory Com m ittee. T h e Council and the C om m ittee are, respectively, the in d ep en d en t advisory bodies which recom m end to the G overnor-G eneral ap pointm ents and awards in the O rd e r o f A ustralia and awards o f A ustralian Bravery

Decorations. These recom m endations are subm itted to T h e Q ueen by the G overnor-G eneral for H e r Majesty’s approval. T h e G overnor-G eneral has also ap p o in ted the D irector o f the A ustralian H on o u rs Secretariat to be the R egistrar o f Awards u n d e r the National Medal R egulations and the Defence

Force Service Awards R egulations. Awards o f the National Medal and the D efence Force Service Aw ards are approved by the G overnor-G eneral on the recom m endation o f the service concerned. 1 he A ustralian H o n o u rs System operates within a fram ew ork o f policies and guidelines laid dow n by the Com m onw ealth G overnm ent and set out in the Letters Patent an d their schedules which have been recom m ended to

1 he Q ueen by the Prim e M inister. T h e rea fte r the conferring o f A ustralian honours a n d awards is free from political influence: the system is adm inis­ tered by the G overnor-G eneral and his staff, and recom m endations are m ade to His Excellency by in d ep e n d e n t advisory bodies. In the case o f the O rd e r o f Australia, the required standards o f m erit and achievem ent are set out in the C onstitution o f the O rd er, while the standards o f bravery for each o f those awards are set out in th e A ustralian Bravery Decorations Regulations.

All nom inations for hon o u rs and awards are m ade to the A ustralian

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H on o u rs Secretariat at G overnm ent H ouse, C anberra. T h e staff o f the Secretariat are req u ired to verify details provided by nom inators and, in cases o f the O rd e r o f A ustralia or the bravery awards, to seek out such fu rth e r inform ation about nom inees and their achievem ents as w ould enable the

C ouncil o r the C om m ittee to decide w h eth er an aw ard is m erited and, if so, at what level.

W hen the A ustralian H onours Secretariat was first established on a p e rm a n e n t basis in 1976, A ustralia had two State Labor G overnm ents, which h ad recourse to hon o u rs only th ro u g h the O rd e r o f Australia. T h e o th e r four State G overnm ents and the C om m onw ealth G overnm ent, th o u g h rep re ­

sented on the Council for the O rd e r o f A ustralia, were also m aking

recom m endations for Im perial honours, so that the total n u m b er o f honours nom inations being researched and verified each year was distributed betw een the A ustralian H onours Secretariat at G overnm ent H ouse, the H on o u rs Secretariat in the D epartm ent o f A dm inistrative Services (now

Special M inister o f State), a n d fo u r State P rem iers’ D epartm ents. Following an investigation by the Public Service Board, approval was given for the creation o f seven positions to staff the A ustralian H onours Secretariat and to service the Council for the O rd e r o f A ustralia and the A ustralian D ecorations

Advisory C om m ittee.

By 1983 only two States had non-L abor G overnm ents who were still recom m ending fo r Im perial honours, while the o th er four States and the C om m onw ealth now had Labor G overnm ents which had recourse to h o nours only th ro u g h the O rd e r of A ustralia. For the vast m ajority of

organisations and individuals, too, nom inations which once were subm itted to the Prim e M inister o r to State Prem iers now had to be directed to the

G overnor-G eneral’s Office.

Som e indication o f the m agnitude o f this redirected w orkload may be gained from the fact that, at the C om m onw ealth level alone, the D epartm ent o f the Special M inister o f State was able to abolish eight positions in ils H o n o u rs Secretariat following the change o f governm ent. T h e G overnor-

G en eral’s Office was able to cope with some o f its new workload only through the help and the co-operation of the D epartm ent o f the Prim e M inister and C abinet, which provided establishm ent cover to enable the em ploym ent of tem p o rary clerical and keyboard staff in the A ustralian H onours Secretariat

at G overnm ent H ouse, until the end o f the period covered by this report.

T h e workload o f the A ustralian H onours Secretariat has increased by 300% over its original w orkload of 1975— 76, upon which its present stall establishm ent is based. In the light of this, a request was m ade to the

G overnm ent, in February 1985, for a 1 15% increase in the staff ol the

Secretariat, the eight positions sought being m atched by the eight which earlier had been saved by the D epartm ent of the Special M inister ol State.

In th e event, the E xpenditure Review C om m ittee of C abinet was unable to agree to any o f these additional positions, and the position was fu rth er aggravated w hen, on 30 J u n e 1985, in o rd e r to keep within the staffing level set by the G overnm ent, I was obliged to term inate the em ploym ent o f the

fo u r tem porary staff which had been able to be em ployed, thus losing some experienced and very valuable staff who had worked, alongside the

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p erm an en t staff o f the Secretariat, to m aintain the standards o f the

A ustralian H onours System. It is a unique featu re o f the O rd e r o f A ustralia that its h o n o u rs are

recom m ended, not by politicians, but by a non-political Council headed bv the C hief Justice of A ustralia. T h e Council for the O rd e r o f A ustralia

considers all subm issions m ade for the gran tin g o f an award, applies the criteria o f m erit and achievem ent which are set out in the constitution o f the ( )rder, and recom m ends to the G overnor-G eneral, who in tu rn subm its them to T h e Q ueen for approval, those citizens who, in its judgem ent, m erit

recognition. Any person o r organisation, including governm ents, may subm it nom ina­ tions, and these are researched and verified by the Secretariat and placed before the Council for its consideration.

T h e work o f the Council for the O rd er o f A ustralia can only be as good as the work o f the staff o f the Secretariat. It is therefore a m atter for

considerable concern that, at ^he end of a decade o f m arked achievem ent in establishing the high standards of the O rd e r o f A ustralia, as well as those of the Bravery D ecorations u n d e r the equally stringent standards o f the

Decorations Advisory GommH.ee, the Secretariat finds itself with three times the original workload yet with only its original staffing establishm ent with which to handle this workload.

The O fficial Secretaries

I he following are the six Official Secretaries who have served A ustralia’s twenty G overnors-G eneral since Federation:

Edw ard William W allington 1901-02

G eorge Steward 1903-19

Jo h n H enry Stirling 1919-28

Leighton Seym our Bracegirdle 1931-47

M urray Louis Tyrrell 1947-73

David Iser Smith 1973-

A cknow ledgem ents

I should not like to close my first rep o rt to the Prim e M inister and to the

Parliam ent w ithout acknow ledging a sincere debt o f gratitude to the

D epartm ent o f the Prim e M inister and Cabinet for the su p p o rt and

assistance which it has given to the G overnor-G eneral’s Office d u rin g the many years when we were notionally a p art o f the D epartm ent. I also

acknowledge with thanks the co-operation which my colleagues an d I have had from the D epartm ent, and from the D epartm ent o f Finance, the Public Service Board, the A uditor-G eneral’s Office, the A ustralian G overnm ent R etirem ent Benefits O ffice, a n d the Office o f the C om m issioner for

Em ployees’ C om pensation, in p rep arin g for o u r new statutory responsibili­ ties and d u rin g the transition to ou r new adm inistrative arrangem ents.

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