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PM forms a
By Jonathan Gaul, Political Correspondent
The Prime Minister, Mr Gorton, announced officially last night that the Prime Minister's Department is to be split into two separate Departments of
Mr C. L. S. Hewitt, who was chairman of the Australian Universities Commission, has been appointed Secretary of the Prime Minister's Department.
Its former secretary since 1959, Sir John Bunting, becomes the permanent head of the newly created Department of the Cabinet Office. The Prime Minister is responsible for both departments.
Mr Gorton's announcement officially con firmed changes in the Prime Minister's De partment which have been expected for the past month.
The announcement says the new Depart ment of the Cabinet Office will have the func tions of servicing the Cabinet and the Com mittees of Cabinet. More cabinet commit tees will be created and the new department will also assist the Prime Minister in the "ex
peditious ordering of Cabinet business and proceedings".
Statement by Gorton
The announcement I also said, "This decision means a division of the i former Prime Ministers Department between its Cabinet activities and its non-Cabinet activities with an expansion of ser vice to the Prime Min ister on each side".
In moving from the Prime Minister's Depart ment, Sir John Bunting retains tho position _ of Secretary to the Cabinet. This means that he is the only public servant who is authorised to attend all Cabinet, or Cabinet com mittee meetings.
He also communicates Cabinet decision to relev ant departments. _ The position was the main fac tor in the prestige and influence that went with the former job of perman ent head of the Prime Minister's Department.
Sir John is expected to have a small staff of about 20 officers, but his de partment will be one of the most influential groups in die top levels of the public
Mr Hewitt, who begins his new job today, now has the task of building- up the policy functions of the Prime Minister's Depart merit into an ideas bank
for Mr Gorton.
To succeed, he will need to attract recruits from other parts of the Public Service and obtain the full co-operation of other de partments in obtaining the primary information neces sary for policy formula
Mr Hewitt is a former Deputy Secretary of the Treasury with a reputation as an uncompromising ad ministrator. As chairman of the Universities Com mission he was close to the then Senator Gorton, as Minister for Education and
In political circles it is generally believed that Mr Hewitt will have the ear of the Prime Minister, al though Sir John Bunting's group will still vet Cab inet submissions including those from Mr Hewitt's department.
The decisions are gener ally regarded as a com promise, following Public Service opposition to the replacement of Sir John However, it has been stated
categorically on the Prime Minister's behalf that the creation of a new depart ment was always his in tention.
The official statement said that in the Govern ment's view the time had now come when the two major activities of the Prime Minister's Depart
ment - Cabinet and pol icy ~ should be separa ted if each were to receive the necessary attention and control required for the full conduct of the Gov ernment's business.
The new appointments were not approved by a formal meeting of Cabi net, but followed consulta
tions between Mr Gorton and senior Ministers.
The new chairman of the Australian Universities Commission will be Sir Henry Basten, former vice chancellor of the Adelaide University.
A tough man for a changed department. -
Swift, the new Deputy Secretary of the Department of the