PM Transcripts - Prime Ministers of Australia

FOR PRESS: PM.NO.31/1968 DEPARTMENT OF THE CABINET OFFICE STATMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER, MR JOHN GORTON

Prime Minister - Gorton, John

Media Release - 11 March 1968

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FOR PRESS': PM. No. 31/ 1968
DEEPARTMENT OF THE CflINET OFFICE
Statement by the Prime Minister, Mr John Gorton
His Excellency the Governor-General in Council has
today, in pursuance of Section 64 of the Constitution, established a new
Department of State of the Commonwealth entitled the Department of the
Cabinet Office. The new Department will have the function of servicing
the Cabinet and the Committees of Cabinet, which it Is planned to extend
in number, and of assisting the Prime Minister in the expeditious ordering
of Cabinet business and proceedings.
This decision means a division of the former Prime
Minister's Department between its Cabinet activities and Its non-Cabinet
activities with an e Xpansion of service t o the Prime Minister on each
side. As is well known, the servicing of Cabinet has hitherto
been a part of the functions of the Prime Minister's Department and the
Secretary of the Department also had the role of Secretary to the
Cabinet. Cabinet pressures have been steadily increasing because of th~ e
diversity and complexity of Government action In the Federal sphere, and
must be expected to continue to do so. At the same time, the other demands
on the Department have risen steadily, and these also will continue to do
SO. In the Government's view, the time has now come when
these two major activities should be separated If each I s to receive the
necessary attention and control required for the full conduct of the
Government's business. Sir John Bunting, C. B. E. has been appointed S-ecretary
to the Department of the Cabinet Office and Mr C. L. S. Hewitt, 0. B. E.,
has been appointed Secretary to the Prime Minister's Department.
Both Permanent Heads will be members of the Defence
Committee. CANBERRA, 11 March 1968