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Mr McMahon said the former system of having a separate Prime Minister's Department
and Cabinet Office "was inefficient, and had to be changed".
He said the changes were designed to support the operation of the Cabinet system of Government.
"As I have already said, I propose to develop this system to its full extent as to provide scope for the expression of its collective wisdom, and to use to the fullest extent the expert knowledge and experience within individual port folios", Mr McMahon said.
"The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabi net will be central to this process.
Responsibilities of department
"It will be the task of the Department to provide the Secretary to Cabinet and to the Committees of Cabinet, and the associated Secretariat machinery, and to provide briefing to the Prime Minister in relation to matters involving him as Chairman of Cabinet and Head of Government.
"The Department will be responsible also for ex changing information with and maintaining close re lations with Ministers and Departments as part of the co-ordinating process.
"Sir John Bunting, the present Secretary to Cabi net, has been appointed Secretary to the Depart ment of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He will con tinue as Secretary to Cabi
"The new Department of the Vice-President of the Executive Council will undertake a number of
Outside Liberal Party Headquarters at Barton yesterday from left, the Federal president of the Liberal Party, Mr Southey, the Prime Minister, Mr McMahon, and the Federal director of the Liberal Party, Mr Hartcher.
functions previously lo cated in (he Prime Minis ter's Department artd in the Treasury. It will be responsible for a wide range of matters. The allo cation to the department of certain other functions is to be examined.
"The change will not involve the Executive Council itself, which is separate from and com pletely independent of the new department.
"The arrangements which have now been made will require re-allotment of staff. Sir John Bunting will be taking up this mat ter with the Chairman of the Public Service Board.
"I have been in touch with Sir Lenox Hewitt and have placed before him certain alternatives for his consideration.
"I want to pay high tri bute to him for his service a> Secretary of the Prime Minister's Department. He will, of course, retain his status as a senior level Permanent Head".
Mr McMahon issued the following list of functions which would be exercised by the Department of the
Vice-President of the Ex ecutive Council:
National Library; Arch ives; Australian Govern ment Publishing Service including the Government Printing Office; Council of Aboriginal Affairs; Insti tute of Aboriginal Studies; Office of the Environ ment; Film and Television Training School; World Expositions; Common wealth Literary Fund; Art Advisory Board; Na tional Gallery; Historic Memorials Committee;
Council of Performing • Arts; Assistance" to Per formers Advisory Board; Grants to National Organ isations; National Radia tion Advisory Committee.
Mr McMahon described these mainly as adminis tration functions not relat ing to policy.
Mr McMahon did not make public until late yes terday his proposal to de lay the announcement of his Cabinet. Me had earlier said he hoped to make the announcement on Sunday night or Monday morning, but said yesterday that "time was beating" him.
"Other problems have to get precedence", he said.
"1 will not be able to do it on Sunday, and it will have to wait until next week".
Earlier yesterday Mr McMahon was asked whether his decision to de fer major changes in the Cabinet and Ministry until the winter recess of Par liament might not cause dissent in the Ministry, with people who did not know what their situation
He replied, "You can't do the impossible, and I will have to explain it to the party, and if there is any forecast or any at tempt to try to create trouble, then I will im mediately state my opin ion, I will immediately say whether their forecasts are right or wrong.
"But most of the time it will be that they are wrong because I won't make up my mind and convey my decisions to anyone else until I am ready to make it available to the Press and • to the other media".
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