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PM sets up



DAVID SOLOMON, Political Correspondent

The Prime Minister, Mr Mc Mahon, has reunited the Prime Minister's Department and the Department of the Cabinet Office, and has established a new Depart ment of the Vice-President of the Executive Council which will take over some lesser functions previously located in the Prime Minister's Department and the Treasury.

Mr McMahon has reversed the action taken by his predecessor, Mr Gorton, and in doing so has restored Sir John Bunting to the pre-eminent position he held under

Sir Robert Menzics and Mr Holt.

The new top department will be called the Department of the Prime Minister and


Sir Lenox Hewitt, the former head of the Prime Minister's Department, has been offered a choice of several jobs by Mr McMahon, including that of Secretary of the Department of the Vice-President of

the Executive 'Council.

In other developments yesterday, Mr Mc Mahon decided to postpone the announce

ment of his new Cabinet until after the House of Representatives disposes of its censure motion against the Government. There could be a delay of as much as a week in determining the composition of the


Mr McMahon decided also to defer three television interviews he had planned to take part in this weekend, on the grounds that lie would be too busy working on his Cabi net list, and preparing to answer the Oppo

sition's no-confidence motion.

The creation of the new Department is not expected to mean any increase in the number of Ministers. For the past three years one Minister, the Prime Minister, has been administering two Departments — Prime Minister's, and Cabinet Office.

Under Mr McMahon another Minister will have two Departments — that of the Vice-President of the Executive Council,

and one other.

Announcement of the new administrative arrangements was delayed yesterday after the Governor-General, Sir Paul Hasluck, had objected to mention being made of the secretariat of the Executive Council. (See report below).