8th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 8 pm., and read prayers.
The following papers were presented : -
Immigration- List showing names, salaries, &c, of officers employedby the Commonwealth in Australia.
Northern Territory– OrdinanceNo . 7 of 1921- Darwin Town Council (No.2).
Public Service Act, - Appointments and Promotions. - Department of the Treasury - B. B. R. Adderley, H. P. McFall, J. A. Williamson, B. McFall, A.G. Wall, S. L. Bagley, S. H. St. L. Hawkins, W. B. Appleyard, E. B. Biden, W. V. Fyfe, L.C. Lovegrove.
War Service Homes Act. - Land acquired at Hamilton, New South Wales.
Aeroplane Service between Geraldton and Derby, Western Australia - Conditions of Tender, &c.
– I ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister whether public complaint has recently been made that owing to the operation of the coastal-trading provisions of the Navigation Act the vessels of the Union Steamship Company hitherto engaged in trade between New Zealand, Sydney, and Hobart, will now have to make Sydney their terminal port, and cease running between Sydney and Hobart. Further, is the Minister aware, that it. is also complained that, in consequence of other provisions of the same Act, all vessels trading in these waters, including river steamers of about 10 tons burden have to provide libraries for their crews’. If aware that such complaints have been made, has the Minister anyinformation as to the foundation of those complaints, and is it intended to take any steps to redress the grievances complained of, and to provide for Tasmania, the one isolated State of the Commonwealth, as good means of communication as she has hitherto enjoyed.
– As there are some technical and legal matters involved in the honorable senator’s questions, I ask him to be good enough to give notice of them. I should; however, like to remind the honorable senator that the Commonwealth Government have always shown their appreciation of the difficulties under which Tasmania, as an island State, labours, and I think I may claim that they have done their best to meet these difficulties,
Senator BUZACOTT presented a progress report from the Joint Committee of Public Accounts on the operations of the War Service Homes Commission in New South Wales.
Organizationfor Joint Scheme
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The particulars required by the honorable senator are as follow: -
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers are - 1 and 2. No statistics are available of the amount of silver and copper currency in circulation. The Treasury has, however, issued coin, as follows, none of whichhas been withdrawn from circulation: -
For twelve years, ended 30th June 1921 - Silver, £4,094,475; copper, £230,952.
For eight years, ended 30th June, 1917 - Silver, £2,680,950; copper, £104,270.
Total notes circulation at 30th May, 1921, was £57,995,123, of which £34,163,858 was held by banks and £23,831,265 was held by the public.
Total notes circulation at 30th June, 1917, was £47,128,162, of which £30,586,261 was held by banks and £16,541,901 was held by the public.
Adjustment of Rate of Exchange
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers are-. 1.11th November, 1920.
Sale of Surplus Stores
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers, are -
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 27th April, vide page 7760) :
Clause 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 -
This Act is divided into Parts, as follows:-
Part III. - The Commonwealth Service.
Division 4. - Examination and appointment of officers.
Amendment . (by Senator Russell) proposed -
That the words “Examination and appointment of officers” be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “Entrance examination and appointments.”
– I have no objection to the amendment, which will improve the clause. I think, however, that we should have some explanation as to why we should be asked to consider to-day about nine pages of amendments which have been submitted, and which honorable senators coming from other States had no opportunity of seeing until 1 o’clock this afternoon at the earliest. I think that we ought to have some explanation from the Government of the reasons which have prompted them to bring forward these amendments.
– In reply to the remarks of Senator Thomas, I merely desire to say that we have deferred the appointment of a permanent Public Service Commissioner because, quite three years ago, the Government made up their minds to submit to Parliament an amending Public Service Bill. Subsequently, we received reports from the Economies Commission, which made certain recommendations, and since then a Cabinet sub-Committee has devoted a good deal of time to considering those recommendations. Our sole desire has been to bring down a measure which will provide for the most effective Public Service to be found in any country. If we have failed to do that, it is not for lack of trying. I have accepted advice from everybody.
– That is a very dangerous thing to do.
– Perhaps I should have said that I have received advice from everybody, and that I have given that advice careful consideration. It was only last Thursday that I received, through the Prime Minister’s Department, a long list of suggested amendments in the Bill from the Acting Public Service Commissioner’s Department.” I immediately called a meeting of the Cabinet sub-Committee, which sat till Friday evening at 8 o’clock, dealing with these amendments in order that we might be in a position to forward them to honorable senators in Sydney before this Chamber re-assembled. However, it took the Committee until next day to finalize the amendments, the drafting of them occupied another day, and getting them from the printer absorbed still another day and a half. It was only yesterday afternoon that I managed to place a complete list of these amendments in every honorable senator’s box. I could do no more.
– Upon turning up the division of the Act to which this amendment applies, I find that the headline does not harmonize with that division. Provision is made in the Act for something more than entrance examinations.
– For entrance examinations and appointments.
– The entrance examinations seem to preclude any further examinations during the time that an officer continues in the Service. The amendment proposed by the Minister will not, therefore, be an improvement upon the Act. In common with Senator Thomas, I think it is scarcely possible for any honorable senator to become seized of the effect of the pages of amendments which the Government are bringing forward in the short space of one hour. I amnot in a position to understand what is proposed except in regard to the first few clauses of the Bill. Some of the amendments are of so drastic and farreaching a character that they require a good deal of consideration.
– I recognise that the VicePresident of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) did all that he could to supply copies of these amendments to honorable senators as soon as possible after he had received them from the Acting Public Service Commissioner. But my contention is that somebody has erred in that the amendments were not in the hands of honorable senators earlier. It seems to me that the Acting Public Service Commissioner should have been consulted in connexion with the drafting of the measure. If he were consulted, and if he did not send forward the suggested amendments until the last moment, the blame does not rest with the Minister. I understand that the Acting . Public Service Commissioner sent along some amendments which were the subject of consideration at the hands of a Cabinet subCommittee upon last Friday afternoon. I should like to know, however, whether all the amendments suggested by the Acting Public Service Commissioner have been adopted by the Government, or whether they have deemed it wise not to proceed with some of them? If they have, we ought to be afforded an opportunity of knowing what amendments have been rejected.
– Does the honorable senator think that I have no right to bring forward an amendment except with the consent of the Acting Public Service Commissioner ?
– I do not suggest that for a moment. The Acting Public Service Commissioner may -send along fifty amendments, and the Minister may be justified in turning down every one of them. But we have a right to know what amendments he has rejected.
– I have administered the Department controlled by the Acting Public Service Commissioner for the past three years, and that officer has been in the habit of making weekly about three suggestions for the amendment of the Act.’ He does not wait for a specific invitation to be extended to him. He has reviewed most of the clauses contained in this measure, because they are already embodied in the principal Act. He has had a number of years’ experience of the working of that Act, and has never hesitated, when he found a weakness in it, to suggest to the Prime Minister’s Department that it should be reviewed. Probably one- third of these clauses represent amendments suggested by the Public Service Commissioner in regard to the working of the Act. If the honorable member is interested; I shall be pleased to let him see the whole of the suggestions made by the Commissioner for the amendment of the Act.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 4 agreed to.
Clause 5 (Existing officers, regulations, &c).
.- I move-
That the following sub-clause be added : - “ Any reference in any Act to the Public Service Commissioner shall be read as a reference to the. Board.” .
There are many references in Acts or regulations in operation to-day to the Public Service Commissioner. We want to continue them when this Bill is passed, for as long as they are required, and the object of” the amendment is to transfer the reference from the Commissioner to the Board as soon as the new Act is proclaimed.
– I have no particular objection to the clause or amendment, except that I - do not want, by -agreeing to them, to be taken as agreeing to the appointment of a Board. . There are later clauses on which the question of the appointment of the Board can be far better raised, and on which the substitution,- for instance, of a Commissioner and an Assistant Commissioner can be debated. I donot want to be told later on that the Committee has already agreed to a Board.
– The honorable senator will not be told that. After the Bill is carried the Board will be constituted, but that body may take two years to reform the Federal Service from end to end. There are hundreds of regulations in existence for the maintenance of order and discipline in the Service, and we do not want to repeal them all in one day. We, therefore, propose to transfer all that we require of them to the Board, so that the Board may be able to administer them.
– Supposing there is no Board?
-If there is no Board, there is no Bill. If Senator Thomas wants to retain the Public Service Commissioner and his staff, all he has to do is to induce the: Committee to reject the Bill.
– Will the Chairman inform me whether, by agreeing to the clause and the amendment, I shall be committing myself to the appointment of the Board?
– The honorable senator will not lose any. rights which he possesses under the Standing Orders to take any action later that he may think fit.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 6 (Definitions).
.- I move-
That after the definition of”Chief Officer” the following definition be inserted : - “Classification “ means the arrangement of officers and positions in classes, and includes the allotment to officers and positions of salaries or limits of salary according to the value of the work.
This makes provision merely for a system of indexingthe public servants, their respective positions, and their salaries.
.- The definition of “ Chief Officer” is as follows: - “ Chief Officer “ means the chief officer, in a State or part of the Commonwealth, of the
Department in connexion with which, or wherein is employed, any officer in connexion with whom the term is used or is applicable.
That is about as involved as it can possibly be. It defines nobody. If there is a chief officer, and there is a second officer under him, I take it that the latter would be the person described as the “ chief officer.” At any rate, the duties of this official are not defined. There is no indication even that his duties shall be “ as prescribed.” If, by means of a regulation, it were made quite definite who the chief officer was, the position would be clear - save that already there are so many regulations that to add to them would only further confuse any one in his search for information amongst them. I hold that the definition is no definition at all, and that that is proved by the subsequent wording of the Bill. I refer to that portion where “ chief officer “ is referred to. The first division includes the permanent heads and all chief officers of Departments, and the second division includes also permanent heads “or” chief officers. When reading that portion of the measure, and baking into account at the same time the definition of “permanent heads,” one wonders who is who.
– There is no real doubt whatever.
– Then the position is, obviously, clearer in the mind of the Minister than in mine. I think that the chief officer should be an officer immediately under the permanent head who has charge of a branch of a Department.
– That is precisely what a chief officer is.
– But does the definition say so? If it is a definition it should define; but this does not. It should be made clear that the chief officer is the officer specifically so described; and his duties should also be as plainly prescribed. One could then turn direct to the regulations and ascertain exactly who is who and what is what.
Senator RUSSELL . (Victoria- VicePresident of the Executive Council - [3.35]. - I cannot understand how there can be any doubt in the mind of the honorable senator. First, there is the head of a Department, who is responsible, in a sense, for policy; responsible for advising the Ministerial head, when required, upon matters of policy; and whose responsibility it is, further, to control the management and organization of the Department as a whole. Under him comes the chief officer, or several chief officers. I may cite the Defence Department by way of example. Its secretary is . Mr. Trumble. He is the head of the Department. Immediately under him there are quite a number of specialists, who are the chief officers of various branches. But they are not heads of Departments. Mr. Trumble is the sole head of the Defence Department. In the Treasury, also, Mr. Collins, the Secretary, is the head of the Department; but there are very many officers under him who are heads of branches, and who are actually the chief officers.. And they are” by no means junior officers. I refer to such heads of branches as Mr. Ewing, the Commissioner of Taxation. Under Mr. Ewing, again, there are State Deputy Commissioners; and each of these is the chief officer of a branch. Each performs practically the same functions - with certain reservations - as Mr. Commissioner Ewing himself.
.- - I suggest that progress be reported.
– Further delay? This measure is seventeen years old.
– Yes, but honorable senators have had placed before them 139 amendments, coming from the Government at the last hour. Although. I have looked through these amendments, and perceive that they are largely formal and should require very little consideration, there is this additional factor : Honorable senators have received a pamphlet from the High Council of Commonwealth Public Service organizations. This body appears to have been very slow in setting forth its case with respect to the Bill, and if its proposed amendments dealt only with the Bill as originally introduced, I would be inclined to take little notice of them, for the reason that they should have been in our hands before now. But ‘if - as is highly payable - the proposed alterations of the Council -are affected by some of the 139 amendments of the Government, the position becomes complicated. The Council represents the following associations : -
Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association, Commonwealth Postmasters Association, Post and Telegraph Association, Postal Linemen’s Union, Australian Letter Carriers Association, General Division Telephone Officers Association, Postal Sorters Union, General Division Officers Union (Trade and Customs Department), Postal Electricians Union, Commonwealth Artisans Association, Line Inspectors Association.
The list embraces the whole of the Public Service, and the Council has sent along 11 pages of closely printed matter concerning the provisions of this Bill. I am sure the Government and honorable senators desire to make the measure as acceptable as possible to the Government and the public servants. We all desire contentment in the Public Service, and it is, I am sure, our wish that we should have a measure that meets with the approval of those who have to work under it, as otherwise we are not likely to secure a maximum of efficiency. It appears that these organizations have been rather tardy in submitting their suggestions.
– But this is only the first instalment.
– This is the time for the representatives of these organizations to speak, and if they have any valuable suggestions to submit they should be considered. It is difficult, ‘ however, to understand why they have been so ‘long in coming forward.
– I have to remind the honorable senator that he cannot enter into a lengthy dis cussion on certain amendments which have been suggested by organizations in the Public Service at this juncture, as the question before the Committee is “That the amendment be agreed to.” The honorable senator is quite within his rights in giving reasons why he considers the Minister should report progress.
– I have to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the leniency which you have extended to me. I have suggested that progress should be reported, so that honorable senators could have at least another day to consider these amendments.
– I am not in favour of progress being reported at this stage, because honorable senators from other States have journeyed to Melbourne on the understanding that they were to go on with the Bill. I have been looking over some of the amendments submitted by the associations, some of which were submitted to me in a typewritten form,, six weeks or two months ago. Senator Earle has said that if the amendments submitted by the organizations have nothing to do with those brought forward by the Minister (Senator Russell) they are of little value. I have not had sufficient time .to peruse the amendments submitted by the associations, but I do not believe that they deal with those brought forward by the Minister. I have one or two amendments which I intend moving, based upon the suggestions of Public Service organizations, and it would appear that these organizations have had. at least two months in which to submit their- suggestions.
– I must remind the honorable senator that he cannot do more than make a passing reference to the amendments which, have been circulated by Public Service organizations.-
– As we have had more than six weeks to consider the provisions of this Bill, I think we are justified in going on with it.
– I do not wish, to approach this question in a fighting spirit,., as I understand that we are all” desirous of creating the best possible machinery for the administration of
Commonwealth Departments. I have not been supplied with a list of the suggestions from Public Service organizations, but it appears that the representatives of these organizations are very slow in submitting their suggestions. Union leaders apparently are not men of the type we had in the early days, because I havenot received a single letter in connexion with this Bill, and those interested appear to have interviewed every one but the Minister. A similar appeal was made for an adjournment two months ago, when there was a general request for senators to have time to peruse the measure. Senator Thomas has given notice of certain amendments, and I have introduced those which the Government favour. Many of those included in the printed schedule I have circulated are of a machinery character and have been prepared after consultation with the Acting Public Service Commissioner. New principles are nob involved, and one amendment to which exception was taken - which is quite inoffensive and of a machinery character - has been embodied in an Act seventeen years old. If there is a general desire to defer consideration of this clause I am prepared to accede to the wishes of honorable senators, because I desire the Bill to be clearly and intelligently discussed.
.- The Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell), in reply to my objection, said that a chief officer was the chief officer of a branch or a Department.
– That is, if the Department is large enough. We do not appoint chief officers for branches at Port Darwin, or, say, in the south of Tasmania.
– The Bill refers to “ Chief officer,” which means “ the chief officer in a State or part of the Commonwealth.”
– A part of the Commonwealth may be the Northern Territory or the Federal Territory.
– A chief officer is the chief officer of a Department in any part of the Commonwealth. The Minister illustrated his argument by referring to the Commissioner of Taxation, who has other duties. In the Railway Department there are. four or five chief officers.
– The Railway Department does . not come under this measure.
– But there are Works and Buildings Departmentsin connexion with railways which have a chief officer of works and a financial officer. I am not objecting to the definition of chief officer, but I want it to be clear. .
– If I supplied a list of the different functions of chief officers it would require a horse and dray to bring them here. A man may be a junior officer at Wyndham, and a chief officer of half-a-dozen Departments, but he is not paid as the chief officer of a Department. A chief officer at Broome, for instance, may have hundreds over him in similar Departments in other parts of the Commonwealth
– The Minister admits that it is impossible to define the functions or status of a chief officer, as. he is sometimes in one division and sometimes in another.
– I have defined the duties of a chief officer who is the second man in the Department, but in some of the larger Departments there are, perhaps, four men in the same class, because there are different Departments. The head of the Defence Department is Mr. Trumble. There are chief officers in half a dozen different branches of the Department””.
– Those are chief’ officers of branches, and not of the Department, whilst the clause speaks of the chief officer of the Department.
– Mr. Bright, theDeputy Postmaster-General of Victoria, is a chief officer. Is he not of the Department of the Postmaster-General ?
– There is the PostmasterGeneral, and in each of the States there is a. Deputy Postmaster-General. We cannot regard every Deputy Post-. master-General as chief, officer of thePostmasterGeneral’s Department.
– What amendmentdoes the honorable senator suggest;?
– I suggest the insertion after the word “ Department “ of the words “ or branch of such Department.”” Thereis a great difference between a Department and abranch of a Department. For instance, the Electoral Branch is a- branch of the Home and Territories Department. The chief officer of the Home and Territories Department is not necessarily chief officer of the Electoral Branch of that Department. My object is to make the definition more clear.
– This, definition has been in force for a great many years under the existing Act.
– The Minister means to say that the Bill includes a lot of old matter taken from the existing Act; and that is no argument for the introduction of a new measure to deal with the Public Service. When we have the Public Service Act under revision, we should make a distinction between the head . of a Department and the chief officer of a branch of that Department. A question may arise in the High Court as to whether a particular officer is the head of a Department or the chief officer of a Department.
– The Minister has told us that “ chief officer” means any one to whom the term may be applied.
– Then we are driven to ask . who is the person to apply the term. How is the Judge of a Court to determine whether the definition has been applied to a particular officer? However, Ihave directed attention to what I regard as a defeat, and if the Minister does not choose to remedy it, I at least have done my duty.
Senator RUSSELL. (Victoria- VicePresident of the Executive Council) [3. 55). - I would not undertake to define in this Bill all the functions of a chief officer. The Civil staff of the Defence Department will come under this Bill. Mr. Trumble is the very capable head of that Department, but it would befoolish to appoint him as head of the Aviation Branch, or the Munitions Branch. If he were asked’ a question about aviation, he would probably send for ColonelGoble, or some trained member of the Aviation Force. Mr. ‘ Oxenham is the head of the Postmaster-General’s Department, but the chief officer in every State is the Deputy Postmaster-General for the State. If any honorable member wished to know something about postal matters in Victoria, he would go, not to Mr. Oxenham, but to Mr. Bright, the Deputy PostmasterGeneral for Victoria.
-. - Senator Senior has agreed to let the definition go, throwing the responsibility upon the Minister.
– If that is so, I am satisfied. My only objectionisto the time it took to induce the honorable senator to agree to let the definition go.
Amendment agreed to.
– I move-
That the definition of “Returned Soldier” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following definition: - “ Returned Soldier “ means any person who (whether before or after the commencement of this Act) has served with satisfactory record in any. Expeditionary Force raised under the provisions of the Defence Act 1903-1918, and includes -
a member of the Army Medical Corps Nursing Service whois accepted or appointed by the Director-General of Medical Services far service outside Australia; (b)any member of the Naval Forces who has been on active service outside Australia of on a ship of war;
any person who during any war, lias been employed in the transport service in connexionwith any such Expeditionary Force, and who, while so employed, served in the zone of war; and
any person who was born in Australia, or resident in Australia within six months prior to enlistment, and who, at any time during any war, served with satisfactory record in an Expeditionary Force raised inthe United Kingdom or in any British Dominion.
The new definition proposed will include nurses. We employ a great deal of female labour in the Commonwealth Service, and there is no reason why we should not give preference to the nurses who did such good work during the war as well as to the men who did such splendid fighting for us. Paragraph c of the proposed new definition will cover men who formed the crews of vessels which rendered war service in getting supplies to our soldiers ; and it will not be forgotten that two vessels of our Fleet were torpedoed during the war, and went down. I think that honorable senators will be disposed to agree to paragraph d of the amendment. We cannot split straws between those who fought in our own Forces and those who served in Forces raised in other parts of the Empire.
.- In the opening lines of the proposed new definition, the word “satisfactory,” as applied to therecord ofa returned soldier, is used. It does not seem to me to be quite a good word in this connexion. Its use implies that some one should be satisfied with the record of the returned soldier. Will the person to be satisfied be the Public Service Commissioner or the commanding officer of the returned soldier?
– I take it that it would mean the members of the Board. The honorable senator will admit that possibly some men, who were heroes at the war, might be considered unsatisfactory.
– Quite so; but it should be possible to use a more definite word than “satisfactory.” The words used in soldiers’ discharges are “good” “excellent,” and “exemplary.”
– A man with a good recordshould be satisfactory.
– The question is, what is the meaning of “ satisfactory “ as used here!
– What would be the meaning of “good,” if it were substituted? . .
– “ Good “ is a wordcommonly used in a military discharge.
– Discharge sheets do not how contain any such words.
– That is so. That practice has been cut out; but that only makes it still more difficult to define what is meant by the use of the word “ satisfactory.”
– The intention is to give power to the Board to refuse preferenceto a returned soldier who might be undesirable from many points of view.
– Why should we not say “ who has served “ ?
– There were Borne of our men, as the honorable senator knows, who could not be admitted to the Public Service.
– I am afraid that this may give, rise to serious dissatisfaction. The Public Service Board may say to a man that his record is not satisfactory, and he may have no way of arguing the matter.
– The onus that it
Was not satisfactory would be on the Board.
– He would have his officialrecord which couldbe turned upat anytime;
– But “satisfactory” impliesthat some one must he satisfied with his record.
– “Satisfactory” at one time was used in discharge sheets.
– I do not think so.
– I am certain of it.
– There must be some discretion provided for. Some of the finest fellows in the world would not be suitable for certain jobs.
– Why not omit the word “ satisfactory “ altogether, and simply say, “ who has served “I suggest that we should leave out the words “with satisfactory record,” making it read simply “ has served in any Expeditionary Force.”
– I am not prepared to accept the word “served” standing by itself. We would not care to have in civil employment some of the men who served, although I do not think there are many men of objectionable character.
– It would still be open to the Board to say, “ This man is not satisfactory to us.”
– I have seen men with splendid records whom we could not take into the Service for other reasons. Senator ELLIOTT.- Would not the words “with satisfactory record” rather bind the Board to accept a man because his record was satisfactory, although he might not be otherwise suitable for a position in the Service?
– I was referring to to men who should be rejected for physical or, perhaps, mental reasons.
– The words “satisfactory record” would seem to put an obligation on the Board to employ a man of that type, although he might be quite unsuitable for the purpose.
– It is only fair to ask that he should have a reasonably clean record. I have had information forwarded to me that a man was charged withmurder and would have been shot in any. other army but ours. We do not want him in our Department, but there are some men likehim at large in Australia to-day. We must have discretion to reject them.
– Will the Minister accept the words “with a record which is satisfactory to the Board,” making it clear that the Board are the people to be satisfied ?
– It is the Board’s discretion that is meant. They are the only people who can appoint anybody.
– I want to make it clear that the man’s record must be satisfactory to the persons who appoint him, and not merely “satisfactory” in the military sense.
– It means that there is nothing in his record to debar him from being a decent public servant. I will welcome any amendment to make that clear. We are trying to treat the soldiers sympathetically, but we refuse to carry the criminal in our Service.
– I am not urging that at all.
– All others will be eligible. The case against a soldier will have to be a very bad one before we refuse to welcome his application. We want to give him a chance to start life afresh and will not look for little detailed mistakes. The war ought to have wiped them all out.
– You will not reject him because he has been absent for a few days without leave?
– Or because he has been “tight” once or twice?
– That is precisely the point I want to make clear. A man might be tripped up for an offence which was practically not a crime at all ina civil sense. Will the Minister make the amendment read “has served with a record that shall in the opinion of the Board be satisfactory”?
– That is the same thing expressed in a different way.
– It would make the matter quite clear and show that the discretion lies with the Board. As the amendment now stands, the Board may say, “We are not the persons to decide whether his record is satisfactory or not. We must turn up his military record.” If that is unsatisfactory in the military sense, the Boardmustcut him out.
-The Board is responsible for his engagement, his maintenance in the Service, hiscapacity, and his salary.
– The Board may regard the word “ satisfactory “ as tying their hands.
– Then suggest a better expression. We do not want to penalize a boy because he made a single mistake. I should like the idea of a “ fair deal “ to be expressedin the amendment. If the honorable senator can suggest a satisfactory alteration before the Bill passes, I will accept it.
– Very well. I pass now to another point. A number of returned soldiers are employed temporarily by the Post Office. They are maimed mainly in the hands or arms, and for that reason the Public Service Commissioner has given them letter delivery work, which is eminently suitable for them. Unfortunately, under the Public Service Act, the Commissioner is bound to make provision for telegraph messengers as they reach the age of eighteen.
– All those who served in the war and who returned have been promoted, and the clause which was in the Bill dealing with them is no longer necessary.
– I am not referring to that at all. The Commissioner is continually appointing these boys to other positions as they reach the age of eighteen. At the present time he is bound to find them permanent employment or put them off. The result up to the present has been that the maimed returned soldiers to whom I refer have been pushed off the temporary list in order that permanent positions may be found for those boys.
– The appointment of boys who were not at the war may not be discussed on an amendment which deals with the definition of “ Returned Soldier.”
– My point is that those boys are displacing maimed returned soldiers. Another definition relates to returned soldiers. I can show the Minister a letter from a man in Bendigo who has a shattered hand. He has been employed up to date to deliver letters, but writes to say that he has been displaced because’ a position had to be found for a boy who is just turning eighteen. I put the case before the Public Service Commissioner, who replied that nothing could be done, because he was bound by theAct to find places for these boys. It is right that the Government should consider the future of the boys in their employmentas telegraph messengers, but where their claims conflict with - the claims of returned soldiers, particularlyof maimed men, the Public Service Commissioner should be given discretion to retain the services of the maimed returned men, and dispensewith those of the juniors.
– Will the honorable senator give me the particulars? I am sure that the Parliament and the Government, would not tolerate a crippled man being thrown out of work.
– That has been done within this very building.
– The men for, whom I speak are temporary employees. The Commissioner feels himself bound to put them off to make room for boys as they attain the age of eighteen.
– I had a case the other day where a South African War veteran, who was in a job and had passed the examination at the top of the list was displaced, and two returned soldiers appointed in his stead. We cannot help these details of administration. While they are important to the man affected, we cannot help mistakes of this kind being made.
– When we reach the clause dealing with returned soldiers, I hope the Minister will consider the insertion of an amendment to prevent the recurrence of the trouble of which I am complaining. The Commissioner will tell the Minister the difficulty he finds himself in. The Commissioner was quite sympathetic, but said that he was helpless.
– The time allowed to the honorable senator has expired.
Amendment agreed to.
.- I move-
That, after the definition of “The Board,” the following words ‘Be inserted : - “ The Appeal Board “ means the Appeal Board appointed in pursuance of this Act.
Senator- Russell. - Clause 53 deals comprehensively with the creation and duties of the Board of Appeal.
– Even so, if there is no definition, how can a measure dealing with the creation of a Board be said to “comprehend” it? The Bill contains nodefinition of the proposed Appeal
Board, but why should there not be a definition, just as there are definitions of “The Minister’’ and “The Permanent Head “ ? My sole purpose is to make clear, by specific definition, that the Board of Appeal is the Board appointed under this Act.
– There will not be merely one Board of Appeal, sitting continuously to deal with matters arising all over Australia. The taking of evidence from an isolated officer, for example, may be delegated to a Board specially appointed for the purpose.
– How will my proposed definition affect that circumstance ? I am not going into the merits of the Board, or of the question of its powers of delegation. My desire is to give it a proper and necessary definition.
– The drafting officers say that there is no need for it.
– Is there any necessity, then, for any of the other definitions ?
– I cannot understand why the Minister (Senator Russell) should raise objection to the inclusion of the definition; but I suggest that Senator Thomas amend his proposed amendment by using the expression “ Appeal Board “ rather than “Board of Appeal,” for it is the former phrase which is employed in the Bill. Would it not be wiser to frame the definition? “ The Appeal Board “ shall be the Appeal Board appointed in pursuance of this Act. .
– I am willing to accept the alteration.
– If there is an Appeal Board created by the Bill, there should be a specific definition of it.
– I also press that view on the Minister, and suggest that it is as important to define the proposed Appeal Board as to give specific definition to the Public Service itself.
– There is no need for the definition, but there: will be no harm in its inclusion, provided that the reference be to “ an Appeal Board.”
– But there is direct reference in the Bill to “the Appeal Board.”
– There may be more than oneAppeal Board. A Board may be appointed for a special purpose ; and,having concluded its activities, it may be disbanded. Later, another Appeal Board may be appointed for some other particular purpose. Or a permanent Appeal Board may be sitting in Melbourne. And, if the case of an isolated officer should arise, that Board may delegate its powers and authorities to a specially appointed Appeal Board, whose members are in the neighbourhood of the officer concerned, so that the evidence of the latter may be taken. If some such authority of delegation - thus involving the creation of another Appeal Board - were not provided, the Central Appeal Board might be called upon to travel all over Australia; and, thus, the main objective of economy would be lost.
– I am willing to withdraw my amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Senator Russell) agreed to -
That the following definition he inserted: - “Appeal Board” means an Appeal Board appointed under this Act.
.- It has been brought under my notice that the clause, as amended, will not meet the desires of public servants who have suggested that the word “ Pay “ should be defined. As this suggestion may lead to a lengthy discussion, I move -
That the following definition be added at the end of clause 6 : - “ Pay “ means the salary and allowances received by any officer.
The officers of the Public Service, in addition to the ordinary salary allotted to them under the Act, receive- other allowances. For instance, a cost of, living allowance has been granted, and, in consequence of a Cabinet decision, a further increase was granted by making a special allowance to those who have children to: support. An officer’s retiring allowance is calculated on the original salary » allotted to him, and consideration is not given to the additional allowances to which I have just referred. If it has been in the interests of the Government or the Department to deal with increases in that way, it is fair to say that a man is receiving a salary equivalent to the aggregate amount which he is paid annually.
– Where is the word “ pay “ mentioned in the Bill?
– In clause 61.
– It appears there, and in other clauses, and by the wording of the clause, the Government apparently intend to allow the conditions which now exist to continue. An officer in receipt of. £168 per annum receives in addition a cost of living allowance of £62, and if he has three children, he receives £39, bringing the total amount up to £269. If an officer was in receipt of that salary when a retiring or any other allowance was being computed, it would be based on £168 per annum, and not on the £269. The special allowance for children may, or may not, be taken into consideration, but the cost of living bonus should be included when a retiring or any other allowance is being computed. I shall be glad if the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) will give honorable senators some information on this point.
– It must not be overlooked that a bonus for children may be paid when an officer is at middle age, but by the time he has reached the retiring age the children on whose account he received that bonus would no longer be dependent upon him.
– I have listened to the arguments submitted by Senator Payne, and I notice that a similar proposal is contained in the leaflet just now being circulated by the Public Service organizations, after what appears to be considerable delay. The Bill was read a first time on the 13 th April. An amendment of this character, if adopted, might have a far-reaching effect. Although it might redress grievances in some instances, such as those cited by Senator Payne, it might cause mischief) in other directions. When Senator Payne introduced this matter, the VicePresident of the Executive Council asked where the word “ pay “ was to be found in the Bill, and Senator Elliott said that it was in clause 61, which reads -
An order for the attachment of the salary, wages or - pay of any officer or employee in the” Commonwealth, Territorial or Provisional Service may be made by any Court of competent jurisdiction.
In that case it would mean that the salary, pay, or wages of a public servant might be garnisheed? I do not think that all these allowances could be dealt with in that way now, but at this juncture I hesitate to express an opinion on the point.
– It also appears in clause 68.
– The word “<pay” is used perhaps in other clauses. If there is any justification for an amendment such as this, we may have to deal with it before the Bill is finally disposed of. At the same time, I do not feel, inclined at this moment to support such an amendment when I realize that one of its consequences, at any rate, will be to make these allowances over and above the ordinary salary or wages subject to attachment by the Court by way of garnishee.
– They are at present.
– I am not sure of that. There would be no doubt about it if we were to accept this amendment.
Senator Payne pointed out that it was not fair to compute the retiring allowance upon the nominal salary without taking into consideration the cost of living allowance or the bonus in respect of children. Senator Glasgow has suggested to me one difficulty in connexion with this proposal. One man might retire at a time when the cost of living was very highland the computation, in his case, would give him a considerable amount as retiring allowance. Another man of the same grade in the Public Service, and receiving the same salary, might retire at a time when the cost of living was comparatively low. The computation, in his case, would be proportionately reduced, and so two men equally entitled to participate in gratuity or retiring allowance might be very unequally treated. This is a matter which should not be dealt with hastily. I am not at present disposed to support the amendment, but I might consider it acceptable if, later, the Bill is so framed as to prevent injustice arising under it, and adequate reasons are advanced in support of it. I suggest that the proper time to deal with the matter is when we come to consider clauses dealing with retiring allowances and gratuities.
– There is a good deal to be said, for the amendment proposed by Senator Payne. If no stronger objections are urged against it than those which have been mentioned by Senators .Russell and Keating, I shall be inclined to vote for it. I do not think there is much in the objection urged, on the ground that there might be a garnishee order against a retiring public servant. I am sorry to hear that it should be necessary to take garnishee orders into account in connexion with our public servants. They are men in receipt of regular pay, and it should not be necessary for .them to get behind with their accounts.
– Unfortunately, many of them do, and that through no fault of their own.
– I should say that there are from 25,,000 to 30,000 people employed in the Public Service of the Commonwealth, and I venture to say that the percentage of those affected by garnishee orders is very small indeed. I am not prepared to deny what I regard as justice to 30,000 people because a few amongst them may be affected by garnishee orders. Senator Keating objected that one man might secure a higher retiring allowance than another because he retired at a time when the cost of living was higher than it was at the time of the other officer’s retirement. Honorable senators are aware that public .servants in remote districts are given a special allowance. In some portions of Western Australia, public servants receive an allowance in excess of the salary granted to men of the same grade in ‘Perth. In the same way, men located at Broken Hill are given an allowance in excess of that paid to men of the same grade performing duties in Sydney.
– Some public servants .get a special climatic allowance for service on the west coast of Tasmania.
– I did not know that there was a climate over there. It is more expensive to live in remote country districts than in the cities, and the public servants in receipt of these special allowances are no better off, and can save no more money, than those performing duties in the more settled districts. It seems to me, therefore, reasonable that those special allowances should be considered in computing gratuities or retiring allowances for officers who have been in receipt of them. For the purpose of computing gratuities and retiring allowances, the special allowances to which I have referred might reasonably be regarded as part of the officer’s pay.
.– I think that those responsible for drafting the amendment were under some misconception, because I can find nothing in the Bill referring to retiring allowances. They must have intended to deal with the provisions of a Superannuation Bill.
– No. A retiring allowance is given after a certain period of service in lieu of leave on full pay.
– I was under the impression that nothing in the nature of a retiring allowance was provided for at the present time. In view of what has been said I am prepared to support the amendment.
– I want honorable senators to realize that the amendment refers not merely to retiring allowances, but to other allowances. Some public servants are required to travel from place to place in the performance of their duties, and while the travelling allowance is calculated on the pay of the officer the, allowance is not added to the salary for the purpose of computing it. The cost of living has increased, and wages generally have been increased; and I am of opinion that whether a cost of living allowance or a house allowance be granted to a public servant, the allowance added to his salary should be regarded as the equivalent for the services he renders to the Commonwealth.’’
– Are those allowances added to the salary of a public servant in estimating his taxable income?
– I think not. If a, man receives a travelling allowance it is not counted in estimating his taxable income. . Travelling allowance is paid according to the classification of the officer receiving it. But in many cases the pay of an officer plus his travelling allowance amounts to more than the minimum salary of an officer in a higher grade. If an officer is housed by the Commonwealth, as for instance, the caretaker of a building, whilst his salary may be.£180 a year, quarters, fuel, and light, .allowed him may be calculated as worth another £50. In my view that officer is in receipt of a salary) of £230 per year.
– I understand that the practice now is to pay the full amount and make deductions for rent and so on.
– I realize that there is a great deal in what Senator Keating has said. These amendments were brought
Cinder my notice for the first time to-day, although I discussed this particular matter some months ago with a number of public servants. I think it is scarcely fair that honorable senators should be expected, on so short a notice, to consider all these amendments.
– I am sure that it is the object of every honorable senator to do what is fair and just by the Public Service, and also by the public. Senator Payne has just referred to the travelling allowance. An officer may, while performing his’ duties, receive a considerable sum in the course of a year in the way of travelling allowance. If the amendment is carried as it stands that allowance will be added to the ordinary salary for the purpose of computing gratuity or retiring allowance. I do not think that that would be generally agreed to. The housing allowance referred to might be regarded as part and parcel of the remuneration of the officer receiving it, and might reasonably be taken into consideration in computing his gratuity or retiring allowance. But there may be allowances in the nature of travelling allowances, which honorable senators will agree should not be taken into account. It might by regulations be possible for the Minister, whilst endeavouring to give effect to the spirit of the amendment proposed by Senator Payne in all reasonable cases, to protect the public at the same time against what might be called unfair appreciations of salaries.
– I do not think travelling allowances were intended to be included. ‘
– If the amendment were carried in its present form it would include them. We might be able to overcome such a difficulty by a provision giving the Government discretion to indicate by regulation, from time to time, what allowances should be considered, and what allowances should not be considered, in computing retiring allowances. That course would mean legislation by regulation, of which myself and other honorable’ senators have so often complained, but the regulations in that case would not escape notice; as many others do. There would be too many people throughout the Service interested, in them, and consequently a fairly good opportunity for either House to annul any regulation which was unfair or obnoxious.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Unless otherwise expressly provided this Act shall not apply to -
Any member of the Inter-State Commission;
The Commonwealth Railways Commissioner;
Any officer remunerated by fees, allowances, or commission only;
Any officer or class of officers, or employee or class of employees, to whom or to which on the recommendation of, and for special reasons assigned by, the Board, the GovernorGeneral declares that the provisions of this Act shall not apply.
– I move -
That the words “ Any member of the InterState Commission “ be left out.
There is no longer any such institution.
Amendment agreed to.
– I move -
That the words “ The Director of the Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry;
The Director of Commerce and Industry.” be inserted.
We do not desire to bring those officers under the provisions of this Bill.
Amendment agreed to.
– I move -
That after the word. “ Commissioner,” the words “ or any employee under the Commonwealth Railways Act 1917,” be inserted.
The object of this is to exempt the railway employees on our transcontinental and other lines, because they are already working very happily under a special Act.
Amendment agreed to.
.- I move -
That the following words be inserted : - “ A chairman of an Appeal Board.”
Clause 53 provides that the Appeal Board constituted under that clause shall comprise, among others, “ a permanent chairman, who shall be an officer of the Commonwealth Service, and shall have the qualifications of a stipendiary or a police magistrate, and shall be appointed to the office by the Board of Commissioners.” In that position the chairman would exercise judicial functions, and have to hold the scales of justice evenly between appellants and the Government. He should, therefore, be exempt from the provisions of the Public Service Act.
– I think the honorable senator is quiteright. A man cannot be under the Act and over the Act. I will accept that amendment, but it will only apply during the period for which the Chairman occupies that position.
– I was in favour of the amendment until the Minister (Senator Russell) made his interjection. I understood that there was to be an Appeal Board, of which the chairman would be appointed permanently, but the Minister referred to the possibility of the officer goingback to the Public Service. If he is to be appointed permanently, I am in favour of removing him from the control of the Board of Commissioners, because then he would be able to give a fairer deal to appellants.
– He will be appointed for a definite period.
– Permanently ?
– Then after that he can be re-appointed or go back to the Public Service?
– He will retain his right to go back to the Service.
– Clearly, the officer contemplated by sub-clause 5 of clause 53 is an officer who shall belong to the Service, at any rate, when he is appointed. I am not sure whether the purpose of the amendment is to take him out of the Service then for good, but the Minister (Senator Russell) seems to understand it to mean that he shall be exempt from the Act whilst he occupies the position of Chairman of the Appeal Board.
– Would it not be wise to make him independent in that way?
SenatorKEATING.- Quite so; but the Bill provides that he shall be a permanent chairman. This amendment, if passed, will involve a consequential amendment of sub-clause 5 of clause 53, both as to the permanency of the chairmanship and as to his being an officer of the Commonwealth Public Service.
– If he accepted the position for five or seven years he would preserve his right to return to the Service or to be re-appointed as chairman for a further term.
– Then he would not be permanent. In accepting the amendment the Minister is accepting the responsibility for a radical alteration of the proposal of the Government as contained in clause 53.
– Under the old Act an inspector was appointed for seven years permanently, but he ceased to be a member of the Service and could not go back into the Service at the end of the time unless re-appointed. We can deal with this question better when it arises on clause 53. We simply say now that for the time that the officer is acting as chairman of an Appeal Board he is not to come under the control of the Board of Commissioners.
– We should put in the words “the chairman for the time being of an Appeal Board.”
– I understand that the Defence Department, under present conditions, does not come within the scope of this Bill.
– The Department at present operates under the Defence (Civil Employment) Act 1918. As soon as that Statute shall have expired - which will be at a given period following the declaration of Peace - the civil staff of the Defence Department will automatically come under the control of this measure. I call the attention of the honorable senator to sub-clause 2, which specifically provides in that direction.
– The clause says, however, that the Act is to apply to “ any person employed in the Naval or Military Forces.”
– That has reference only to the permanent fighting arms of those Forces.
– I note, further, that the clause begins with the phrase, “ Unless otherwise expressly provided, “ and that the express provision is - as the Minister has just indicated - in subclause 2.
Amendments (by Senator Russell) agreed to -
That the word “ officer “ be left out, with aview to insert in lieuthereof the word “ person.”
That the words “ and for special reasons assigned by,” be left out.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 8 -
For the purposes of this Act the Public Service shall comprise -
The Provisional Service shall include the Department of Repatriation, and any other Department or branch of the Public Service of a provisional or temporary character which is included by proclamation.
Amendment (by Senator Russell) proposed
That the words “ the Department of Repatriation, and any other “ be left out, with a view to inserting in lieu thereof the word “ any.”
– I understand that the deletion of the reference to the Repatriation Department is to give this measure a wide and general effect. There has been much complaint in the past six months with respect to officers who have been employed in the Repatriation Department and the War Service Homes Branch. I can quite appreciate that returned men who have filled positions in those Services probably failed to realize, when accepting the work, that they were Departments whose activities were bound to diminish and ultimately, perhaps, to cease. The gradual diminution of activities has necessitated the retirement of numbers of returned soldier employees, many of whom had originally considered that they were getting into permanent positions as Commonwealth public servants. There have since been complaints of services having been dispensed with unwarrantably. I am anxious to know if the amendment is likely to affect the situation and prospects of these men. Shortly before the visit of Colonel Semmens to Tasmania, I interviewed the Repatriation Commissioner, and put the case generally for a number of men in Tasmania concerning whom complaints had reached me. While, subsequently, in that State, Colonel Semmens came into direct communication with several of the complainants, and I understand that some satisfaction has been derived from his visit. Similar grievances, however, are common in other States. I do not overlook the fact that their own comrades warned many of the men who entered the Repatriation Department that they were taking work in a Service which was already overburdened; and, further, that the day must soon arrive when their jobs would end. Will the Minister give an assurance that the amendment is not designed to further prejudicially affect any officers who have obtained employment in the Repatriation Department and War Service Homes Branch ?
– Returned soldier employees of the branches referred to have special privileges with respect to transfer. For example, they may obtain employment in - other branches of the Public Service without being required to undergo the ordinary Service examination; and they may avoid insurance obligations, if they have been for a certain period employed in the Repatriation Department. There are still further concessions. One of these, for instance, permits a returned man to enter the third division of the Service up to the age of fifty years.
– The information just given is im portant, and should be made widely known. Among returned soldier employees in the pay office of the Repatriation Department, there have been many recent notifications that their services are uo longer required. These men are not aware that the fact of their having been engaged in the Repatriation Department furnishes them with a recommendation and a preference whenever there may be vacancies in other spheres of the Public Service. I know that several ex-soldier employees in South Australia, who have been dismissed, have experienced considerable difficulty in securing work, while, at the same time, men have been retained in the pay office who’ are not returned soldiers. I suggest that the fact should be generally made public that returned men whose services have had to be, or are likely to be, dispensed with, are entitled to preference in respect of applications for positions throughout the* Public Service generally.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 9 (Appointment of Board of Commissioners).
– I have given notice of an amendment which, if agreed to, will alter the whole character of the Bill, and, so far as I am concerned, a good deal depends on the manner in which this particular provision is considered. If this clause is carried, a Board of three Commissioners will be appointed to take the place of the present Acting Public Service Commissioner. I understand that transfers and appointments and a great deal of the work now performed by the Acting Public Service Commissioner will be undertaken by the permanent heads of Departments. Consequently, a certain amount of relief - some of which I do not favour - will be given to the proposed Board. On the other hand, a good deal more than is at present done by the Acting Public Service Commissioner will be undertaken by the proposed Board. As honorable senators are aware, the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) introduced a Public. Service Bill providing for the appointment of a Board of Management, in which he pointed out what the duties of the proposed Board would be. Although that measure is not before us, the provision of the Bill relating to the appointment of a Board of Management is embodied in this measure. We are able to recall, not only the speech delivered by the VicePresident of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) on the second reading of this Bill, but also that of the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) who introduced the other measure. The VicePresident of the Executive Council has said that he has received suggestions from various sources, and I would like to ask him who suggested the appointment of a Board of Control to .perform the work which is now being done by the Acting Public Service Commissioner?
– I believe the suggestion was first made by the Economies Commission. We have had experience of Business Boards, and one which inquired into the working of the Defence Department was a great success.
– The duties of a Business Board and a Board of Commissioners for the Public Service are quite distinct. Mr. Mclachlan, in his report, suggests a Commissioner with an assistant.
– He has subsequently amended that opinion.
– I am not dealing with private conversations which may have transpired between Mr. Mclachlan and Ministers, but with Mr. McLachlan’s report, which was laid on the table of the Senate, and contained these words -
The establishment of a Public Service Board of three perhaps would be unwise, owing to the inelasticity of control and the diminution of personal responsibility.
– I am not referring to private conversations, but to an opinion expressed by Mr. McLachlan before a sub-Committee of Cabinet.
– I am dealing only with the report laid on the table of the Senate. I have a very high opinion of Mr. McLachlan, whom I regard as a capable public servant, but I am not prepared, perhaps, to accept his opinion on this matter if he stood alone, because he has spent all his time in the Service. But file Economies Commission, which cost, approximately, £6,300, was opposed to the appointment of a Board, and in its final report denounced the provision which has been embodied in this clause.
– In regard to the three Commissioners?
– It was of the opinion that’’ if we are to have economy in the Service we must not have a Board of Management. The last report was prepared after certain criticism had been made concerning a Bill introduced by the Minister for Defence, and the Commission had the advantage, such as it was, of that criticism. The final report states -
Provision does not exist for the performance of the class of inquiry conducted by this Commission, and it is not done; but we think it should be done by the Board which we have recommended, which would be better termed a Public Service Efficiency Board.
If honorable senators will read page 20 of the report they will find that the Economies Commission were emphatically opposed to anything in the nature of the Board suggested in the Bill. This clause is an attempt to provide for the appointment of a Board to control the Public Service, and also to carry out the numerous duties contained in clause 15. Although honorable senators may not feel disposed to support my contention, perhaps they may be guided by a statement made by the Minister for Defence, who said -
If the Board of Management had nothing to do with the powers of the Public Service Commissioner at all, there would still be sufficient scope for any business man to thoroughly apply himself to, and still occupy all his time.
We are dealing with a’ Service employing from 20,000 to 30,000 men, and. with a public expenditure running up to £20,000,000.
Could there be a stronger condemnation of this particular provision than the Minister’s statement. I have said, on previous occasions, that any one who endeavoured to conduct the Public Service would have sufficient to do without performing all the duties enumerated in clause 15, and the Minister for Defence said that the appointment of a Board would be justified if it controlled only the business side of the Service. We have been told, on previous occasions, and again this afternoon, that the Board appointed to inquire into the Defence Department rendered good service. The Minister for Defence said that it was impossible for the Minister controlling that Department to deal with contracts ; one had been under consideration for three months.
– I think he said six months; because the same contract was before the- Department in my time.
– I am so moderate in putting a case that I generally do myself less than justice.
– I have to inform the honorable senator that the time allotted to him under the Standing Orders has expired.
.- This is one- of the most important clauses of the Bill. Earlier in the session I expressed my gratification at the introduction of a measure proposing some alteration in the management of the Public Service, because I felt that a great deal of dissatisfaction existed in the Service, and it might be removed under a new system. In some of the States, a Board of three Commissioners has _ been abolished, and a single Commissioner appointed, with the same object in view. The Commonwealth ‘ Public Service has been under the control of a single Commissioner during recent years, and it has not been as satisfactory as some think, it might have been. Whether there is justification for the dissatisfaction within the Service I am not in a position to say; but one cannot fail to recognise that throughout the Service a great desire for a change in its management has been expressed. Senator Thomas is not enamoured of the Government proposal, but I believe they are wise in suggesting the proposed new system. I think the time is opportune to say that they might go a step further than they have gone, and -in order to make the Public Service a satisfied Service, decide that one member of the Board of Management should be a representative of the public servants themselves. Many objections are urged against such a proposal, but I do not think they are sound. Throughout the commercial world to-day in the case of business concerns employing thousands of men, artisans and employees generally are given representation on the Boards which control them. There is provision made in this measure for representation of the public servants on Appeal Boards, but they have asked honorable senators to urge that they should be represented on the Board of Management. The public will be sufficiently protected by a majority representation on the Board. The Service would only have minority representation, but their representative would have an intimate knowledge of every matter with which the Board was required to deal. Direct representation of the public servants on the Board of Management would go a long way towards smoothing over difficulties, and would tend to make the Service more contented.
– If that course were followed, the Public Service might have two representatives on the Board, because it might be decided by the Government to nominate the Public Service Commissioner as one of the members of the Board.
– That would not quite meet the case presented by the members of the Public Service,, who wish to be placed in a position to nominate one member of the Board.
– They would vote for him throughout the Service.
– They would nominate him by vote, and he would be appointed by the Government as a member of ‘the Board.
– The honorable senator is suggesting direct representation of the public servants on a Board having the power to fix wages and classification.
– I am aware that it is proposed that the Board of Management should have those powers, but I have said that the representation of the public servants would be a minority representation. The taxpayers would be amply protected because the other two members of the Board would be appointed without any reference to the Public Service. I trust that honorable senators will express their views .on this matter. I am sure that they are all anxious” to see the Public Service as contented as possible. We shall get better service from our public officers if they are contented, and if we can do anything to make them mere contented than they are to-day, without jeopardizing the finances of the Commonwealth, we’ should certainly do it.
– I was referring to the fact that a Board had been appointed in connexion with the Defence Department, and it had been used as a strong argument in favour of a Board of Management for the Public Service. We are told. that the Business Board of the Defence Department took six months to deal with a particular contract.
– They did their ordinary work at the same time. They were running our hospitals. The contract was only a special matter with which they dealt,
– I do not know anything about the contract. I accept the statement of Ministers on the subject that the Defence Board took a long time to do most excellent work. ‘ We have been told that the Minister, having so many documents to deal with, has not the time to pay proper attention to numbers of matters which must be left to the Board. Senator Russell has told us that he has been about three years practically in charge of the Public Service.
– Probably for about five years now.
– I ask the honorable senator to say whether any Minister has more papers, to deal with than has” the present Acting Public Service Commissioner. I do not say that the papers dealt with by the Acting “Public Service Commissioner are of the same importance as those dealt with by Ministers. But it must be admitted that the’ proposed
Board of Management of the Public Service will have more papers to deal with than any one Minister,
– It isnot the question of the number of papers . Some papers can be dealt with in a second, whilst others take a number of weeks to deal with.
– The honorable senator will agree that the Acting Public Service Commissioner has. a tremendous number of papers submitted to him. I raise the question whether the Board of Management to be appointed under the Bill will have more time to deal with the question of the efficiency of the Public Service than the Minister in charge of the Service has. It is proposed that some of the work now done by the Acting Public Service Commissioner shall not be done by the Board of Management.
Under this Bill a permanent head will be able to appoint an officer, subject to appeal. Under the existing Act he cannot do so. I venture to say that under this Bill there will be many more appeals than there have been in the past. It must be obvious that the Board of Management will have more work to do in connexion with appeals than the Public Service Commissioner has had to do under the existing law. Under the existing Act, if a man was to be appointed to a position in the Public Service, he would be appointed only after the Public Service Commissioner and the head of the Department concerned had talked over the matter. If any one objected, he would have to make good his objections against the combined judgment of the Commissioner and the permanent head of the Department. What may happen under this Bill is that a man may say : “ The permanent head has done this, and not the Board of Management. I have a right to appeal to the Board of Management,” and he will do so. Under the existing Act, the appeal is from Caesar to Caesar, but under this Bill the appeal will be from the permanent head to the Board of Management.
– It should be an improvement to have the appeal to a new authority.
– I am talking of the time to be saved to give effect to the economy stunt
– Does the honorable senator not think that the appeal from Caesar to Caesar involves an absolute suppression of the appellant’s rights ?
– We are talking of two different things. I am contending that the Board of Management will have more of its time taken up with appeals than the Commissioner has under the existing Act.
The Board will have less time to deal with the matters arising under clause 15 of this Bill than the Commissioner has had to deal with matters arising under section 11 of the existing Act. The Board will be unable to give the time required to look into contracts and such work as the Minister anticipates, because it will be fully occupied in other ways, and very largely in connexion with appeals under this measure. In a memorandum which Senator Keating and I had an opportunity of considering some time ago, the Auditor-General did not complain that the Public Service Commissioner occupied an undue time in providing a staff, because he had so many other Departments to deal with. But he did complain that he did not secure the staff he required as quickly as he ought to have done. Although he ultimately obtained the staff he wanted, there was unreasonable delay, and consequently he had to work with temporary hands, to the disadvantage of the Auditor-General’s Department.
– There will be three men now on the Board to deal with these matters.
– There will be three men, and it will take them longer to deal with appointments. With one Commissioner, his decision is final, but this clause practically puts the three Commissioners on the same footing. Any question arising will have’ to be argued out by three men instead of by one, and they will have to be satisfied.
– “In the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”
– And sometimes confusion.
– And sometimes delay.
– That is quite true. There is inelasticity when three have to decide instead of one. The history of the idea of three Commissioners is a history of delay.
– Will there not be in effect a Public Service Commissioner as chairman, and two assistants?
– No. And why have two assistants? We might just as well have one Commissioner and one assistant.
– Except that they would get more speedily through the work.
– If we give one Commissioner two men tohelp him instead of one, that is another question, but this Bill does not provide for that.
– It provides for the power of delegation.
– It provides that the three men shall be of equal standing, although one is paid more than the others.
– Will they be on all fours with the Railways Commissioners?
– Not exactly. In Victoria there are three Railways Commissioners, but Iventure to say that Mr. Clapp, the chairman, overrules the other two. In New South Wales there is only one Railways Commissioner and two assistants, and the Act provides that the Commissioner can have his own way, in spite of the two others. He need not argue a point with them. They can send to Parliament a protest against anything he does, but his administration goes on in spite of it, and the only way that he can be checked is by Parliament indorsing the protest of his two assistants . - At one time, New South Wales had three Commissioners of equal standing, andthe result was that they did not speak to one another except in their offices. That Board had to be abolished by Parliament, although they were three able men. I read with considerable interest the statement made recently in Sydney by Mr. Jensen to the Cockatoo Island. Dock Royal Commission. These were his words, as reported in the press:-
There was an absence of harmony amongst the three members of the Naval Board. They were continually at one another’s throats. Sir William Creswell and Sir William Clarkson did not even speak when they were in the street It was owingto the impossibility of getting them to agree on anything that the long delay took place in the slipway for the Brisbane.
In New South Wales,there are now three” members of the Board of Management for the Public Service, but there is only one Commissioner. The other two are only Assistant Commissioners. In Victoria, the system of having three Commissioners was tried, but was abolished. There is only one in Victoria now. Sir Robert Best spoke most strongly in another place against the Board of Management provided for in the. Bill which this Chamber sent down some time ago,’ and his criticism had a good deal to do with the action of the Government in throwing that measure under the table. Hansardshows how Sir Robert Best, who had experience of a Board of three Commis-; sioners, spoke.
We should have one man responsible, and we should not mix up two entirely distinct matters - the efficiency of the Departments, which is a very good thing, and.the control of the Public Service. The Economies Commission, in their final report, say that it is impossible for. one body of men to look after those two things. They point out that if. we are to have economy in a Department, we must have people whocan go into that Department, and who are not responsible for the appointments in it. Clause 15 contains proposals for bringing about efficiency in the Departments, but so little confidence have the Government themselves in the ability of the proposed Board of Commissioners to bring about economy, that recently, as I noticed with a good deal of astonishment, Sir Joseph Cook, the Treasurer and Acting Prime Minister , detailed to the press a new economy scheme for the appointment of certain financial authorities to overlook each Department.
– That was to make one financial man responsible for seeing that the proper conditions of expenditure were observed.
– The proposalwas very elaborate, and, according to Sir Joseph Cook, had beenforwarded to the other Ministers; but it all tended to show how little confidence, so far as the economy side was concerned the Government had in this Bill. Evidently the new scheme for economy was decided on before this Bill had a chance of being put into operation.
– The object of the Treasurer’s proposal was toprevent money being spent by Departments without proper authority.
– The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I have followed Senator Thomas’ remarks with considerable interest. As the proposed Board of three Commissioners will have under this Bill to deal with this clause, and also with clause 15, we are. putting on them an extremely big burden. A great deal of good could be done if we had one Commissioner, as at present, and also created several Departments under him, letting him’ have an overriding influence over the whole of them. When clause 1,5 is reached, I shall propose the addition of an efficiency department, that will be controlled by efficiency engineers, and that’ certain laboratories shall be created and certain records kept for the whole of the great Public Service. of the Commonwealth:. If we have one man in control, and place these arrangements under him, a great deal of good can be done. I cannot see how we are to get the efficiency for which the Government are looking with three members of the proposed Commission. It seems to me that- we shall have divided control and a great deal of difficulty. There must be a definite head. The Commonwealth Public Service is a very great part of the machinery of gOrvernment. It has grown to enormous proportions, and we must consider whether there is any possible way of introducing an efficiency system that will bring about better results, and give a greater return for probably less money, while, at the same time, creating in the Departments a feeling” of security in regard not only to tenure, but to promotion. There have been many instances of men who were extremely useful in Departments ‘being compelled to “resign because they could not see .before them any tangible promotion in the near, or even in the distant, future. We must introduce some system of efficiency and record, bo that each man can be promoted according to the work that his card shows that he is fitted to do. This will create amongst the officials in -the Department’s a feeling that they will receive recognition if they can show that they- are willing and worthy. I propose to elaborate the question of efficiency at length on clause 15. At present I shall content myself with supporting Senator’ Thomas’ , proposal to have one Commissioner at the head of the Service, instead of placing it under three heads.
.- I am pleased to find myself supported in contending for one Commissioner instead of three by no less -.an authority than . Senator Russell himself ,. When the Institute of Science and Industry Bill was before this Chamber, the Government proposed one Director, and some member of this Chamber proposed three. On this point Senator Russell said -
The Government; in proposing the. appointment of the. Director of the Institute of Science and Industry, were of opinion that three men, if appointed, would be talking too much,- and would not do the work. They proposed; therefor, to vest all the powers in one. -
– I was hopeful that that one would not be a professor, because, although they are clever fellows in their own line, I never met such bad business men in my life. I would have had there, for a start, one man who was a business organizer, just as Senator J. D. Millen wants a scientific; organizer. My idea was to get the other officials to cooperate.
– Again, I agree with the Minister. The reason why he objected to. three in that instance was. that there would be too much talk. His argument, was not in respect of the.: rival merits of a scientist and of a business man. The Minister and I were fellow members of a- party at a time when I chanced, to. he in the Ministry of the da;v which appointed -the Governor pf the Commonwealth Bank; and J am sure that the selection of Sir Denison Miller received the approval of Senator Russell. One . man was (Selected. True, he was given an assistant, hut only one man wac given control and authority. The Minister will agree with me that in making such an individual selection the then Government acted wisely.
– Further, the Minister was a member of the Government which reappointed Sir Denison Miller, and which, in so doing, set the” seal, .of approval upon the choice of one man having full control and authority. In the present instance it is highly necessary that there shall be one authority instead of three. Less time will, be wasted, and less money will be spent. . The Public Service Commissioner to-day has the assistance of an inspector in each State; but, on account of the growth of the Service, I understand, the inspectors are required to spend a great deal oftheir time in their offices rather than in making inspections. That, of course, is not the fault of the inspectors. Under the Bill, however, there are to be no inspectors whatever. The Government propose, apparently, to thrust on the Board of Management all the present inspectorial duties.
– There will be a form of inspection. If the Board requires an inspection of some technical branch of the . Service, it will have power to call in a specialist.
– This Bill gives to a person in the Service who feels himself aggrieved, for example, in having been superseded by a junior, the right of appeal to the Board of Management. The Board must examine his individual case. At present the necessary inquiry into the merits of all such cases is in the hands of the various State inspectors. Such investigations do not call for experts. Who is to take the place of the inspectors with regard to such tasks?
– Does the honorable senator know of any Appeal Board which acts in any other way than upon the evidence placed before it?
– No; but hitherto, the inspectors have furnished the evidence. Who is now to provide it?
– The honorable senator is wrong in assuming that there will be no inspectors. As a matter of fact, there will foe plenty of them.
– That is an interesting admission. Where does the Bill so provide?
– The Board will have power to delegate a specialist officer to conduct a specialist’s inquiry.
– Even if the Board of Management is to have the power to appoint special inspectors, these latter can only be temporary officers.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to . 8 p.m.
– I shall be glad if the Minister will explain why the Government have decided to appoint a Board of three Commissioners when the Public Service Commissioner in his report favours one Commissioner, and the Economies
Commission do not advocate a Board of Management, but an Efficiency Board.
– The opinion was fairly unanimous as to the appointment of a Board with the proposed powers.
– That Bill has been dropped in another place, and it is now before the Senate in the same form.
– That is not so.
– That particular portion of the Bill is the same.
– The powers have been considerably strengthened.
– I move-
That the words “Board of Commissioners of three persons “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ Public Service Commissioner.”
When the other Bill was before the Senate,,’ I was opposed in thefirst place to the appointment of a Board of three Commissioners, and secondly because no provision had been made as to what it was to manage. The Government have now set out the duties of the Board because of what happened in another Chamber, and to that extent the measure is more satisfactory than the one previously before the Senate. The proposed Board will have to control the Service, and at the same time exercise the functions provided in clause 15. I have already quoted the statement of the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) to the effect -that it would take the ablest business men in Australia all their time to do what is provided in clause 15.
– I direct the honorable senator’s attention to the fact that the time allotted “him under the Standing. Orders has expired.
– I am not in favour of the amendment moved by Senator Thomas, and I trust the clause will stand as printed, because it will be the means of providing a continuity of policy. We have ascertained-, even during the course of this debate, that it is a great advantage to have in the Senate honorable senators’” who have been closely in touch with administrative- work, more particularly in connexion with the Public Service. Senator Thomas is able to speak with authority on certain phases of administration in the Commonwealth Public Service, because he was for some time the Minister’ controlling an important Department. The clause has been drafted in its present form to insure that there shall always be one member of the Board of Management who will be conversant, not only with what is happening at the time, but with what previously has been the policy of the Board. Sub-clause 3 of clause 9 provides’ that the Commissioners shall in the first place be appointed for varying periods to insure that all members of the Board shall not retire at the same time. In the event of a* member being appointed when a vacancy occurs, the appointment shall be for a term of five years.
– The idea is not to allow -the three members to retire at once.
– It would be unwise to allow that to occur, because it would interfere with the continuity of policy, and; possibly, result in a certain amount of chaos. I am pleased to see that the Government propose, other things being equal, to give preference to exsoldiers and sailors, and in making appointments to the Board, I trust the Government will consider the claims of returned soldiers and sailors who may be eligible, and who may seek appointment.
, - Senator Thomas has asked what the Board of Management is going to do. The Board will be appointed to deal with matters of importance affecting the Public Service. It will have very considerable powers of delegation. It would be useless, for instance, for the, three members of the Board to go across to Tasmania and remain there for a long time when they might be employed in the other States upon duties’ of far more importance. There is no reason why the Board should not consist of specialists. One should be a specialist as an organizer. One might very well be an expert in connexion with telephony and telegraphy, and the third might be a specialist in some other line. There appears -to be a general assumption that inspectors of the Public Service will be done away with under this Bill. I do not see why that should be so. In view of the wide area of the Commonwealth, and the many duties which they were called upon to perform, I think it is not too much to say that, in the past, they have not been able to do themselves justice. One of these men might be very suitable to take charge of the Labour branch, and others might undertake work for which they are specially qualified. Senator J. D. Millen has had something to say on the subject of the employment of specialists, and in this connexion may I remind honorable senators that this year the taking of the census has been quite a revelation to a great many people? -This- kind of work is done automatically to-day by machinery; and much of the calculating and indexing was carried out in that way. We have in the past been paying high wages to clerks to make bond slaves of themselves, poring over papers all day long, when a machine might be employed to do the same work in a fraction of the time. I can congratulate Senator Thomas on the good work which he did whilst in charge of the Post and Telegraph Department, but during that time no man was the subject of more bitter criticism than was the honorable senator because of the reforms which he sought to introduce in connexion with the telephone service of the Commonwealth. I have no hesitation in saying that I believe that we are losing thousands of pounds every year in the employment of. useless clerical labour. Only quite recently, Mr. Clapp, the present Victorian Railways Commissioner, has been criticised for sending men to America to investigate the conduct of railway services there. It has been suggested that he has only recently come from America himself, and should know what is done there. But the men whom he is sending to America are young men;, he recognises that they are men of promise who have displayed energy, courage, and intelligence, and he has no doubt that they will return from America in a position to render more efficient service to the Victorian Railway Department as the result of what they will have learned during their visit to the United States on .questions of organization, system, and transportation.
– I am afraid that the Minister is getting away from the question.
– I -was merely giving illustrations to indicate “the value of specialization on the Board of Management. I have put in ten or twelve hours each day in the public service for a good many years now, and it would be quite impossible for me after such a day’s work to take up any particular subject for special study .c-‘ Our Public Service Commissioner and his inspectors have worked very hard. Amongst our inspectors are some men with brilliant academic careers in law and letters, but if we required to inspect a shipbuilding yard, we must have a man who understands shipping and engineering. If we require to inspect the branch of the Public Service dealing with wheat, our inspector must have a knowledge of wheat, and of up-to-date means of handling it. The members of the Board of Management will not carry out all the necessary expert inspections themselves. They will keep a strong hand on the business side of the Service, and will call for special reports from efficient men who will be called upon to do the actual work of inspection. Some inspection work must be continuous for months in order to bring about a thoroughly efficient system. There isno reason why we should continue to carry out clerical work in Australia by the methods adopted fifty years ago. If the Board of Management, with the co-operation of specialists, gives its attention to the work which has to be done, it will find that there is plenty of scope for its activities in the re-organization of the whole of the Departments of the. Public Service. In myexperience, I have been confronted with many problems to thesolutionof which I should like to have been able to devote a little time, butI was never able to do so. If Ministers were called upon to work not more than four or five hours at the routine work of their offices, they would have some time in which to study methods of modern progress and might be able to initiate valuable reforms. We Want fresh men and new ideas in all our public Departments.
– That is a good argument for a constant change of Ministers.
– I am free to admit that a Minister may become stale, and as a Democrat I hope I shall always be ready to accept the verdict of the people. I do not believe that Ministers give their best services to the country by slaving over -papers all day and reading untilthey are blind. If a man in the most remote district in ‘the Commonwealth is dismissed, it is whispered that it is the Minister who has sacked him, and it is suggested that he has treated him unfairly and that there is something wrong with the moral character of the Minister. These trivial complaints have to-be answered, but Ministers should hot have to come in contact with such matters at all, if they are to give their best services to the country. Senator Thomas made some reference to a contract which it took a Board connected with the Defence Department six months to deal with. The contract was a very important one with the Colonial Ammunition Company, and it covered matters of great complexity. The Board sent accountants and costing clerks into the offices of the company, notbecause of any suspicion, but because the contract was toconver five or seven years, and contained a provision under which the Commonwealth might acquire the works of the company on certain conditions. Costing clerks and experts went through the company’s factory. Ifthe factory turned out 20,000,000 cartridges, one year, and only 2,000,000 in another year, the price could not be the same. It is the turnover that determines prices in almost every big undertaking. All these matters had to be carefully analyzed and investigated if the works were to be taken over by the Commonwealth later. It is not desirable that the manufacture of munitions should be in the hands of a private company, because under such conditions there may be a. tendency to bring about war merely for the sake of the manufacturers of munitions instead of to defend the liberties of the people. The contract in question was not an ordinary contract, but one which required- the careful investigationof every detail, and the cost of every cap and grain of powder and piece of copper used inthe manufacture of cartridges. The reports of the investigation are. in possession of the Defence Department to-day and are invaluable. What could the Minister for Defence have done in that matter without the assistance of thesespecialists? I have said that our inspectors have done good work ; but recently the only inspector who could be sent to investigate conditions at a dockyard, though a brilliant man in his own line, admitted that be was paralyzed by the wonderful work he found carried out in the dockyard. He gave a very favorable report, which was of little or no value, because he had no special knowledge of shipbuilding. Any ordinary man visiting a large industrial undertaking to-day will be surprised at what he sees. I frankly admit that my inspection of the Newcastle Ironworks under an expert guide was an eye-opener to me. We do not know everything in Australia, and we should he prepared to adopt the best methods in the civilized world. The Board of Management will have the special function of organizing a good business system for the Commonwealth Public Service. I believe that their work will be beneficial to Australia, and will result in considerable economy. According to their capacity, our public servants have rendered good service, but we desire to help them to attain higher standards. I do not believe that the abolition of the present system will result in dispensing with the services of valuable officers. I have no doubt that if they are qualified for special offices, they will receive every consideration and their claims to employment will be sympathetically entertained.
Senator KEATING (Tasmania) £8.29]. - I listened with interest to what the Minister (Senator Russell) has had to say, but it had no relevance to the question before the Committee. For about twenty years we have had in’ the Commonwealth a Public Service administrative system, at the head of which was one man as Commissioner. This Bill proposes to put there three men instead of one. That is a substantial alteration of the past policy of the Commonwealth. It is a radical departure from the existing system, and it behoves the Government who are introducing it to offer some justification for the change. What Senator Russell has said, however interesting .it may be, has no hearing oh the question of whether there should be one man or three at the head of the Public Service. I do not suppose he argues that because we shall have a Board instead of a single Public Service Commissioner the members of that’ Board will step into the offices qf Ministers and relieve them of purely administrative work.
– I did not suggest that.
– Then I do not see the relevancy of Senator Russell’s address, in so far as he dealt with the opportunities that would be given to Ministers to get rid of some of their present obligations, and devote more of their time to study. How is it going to de done any better when there is a Board than when there is a Public Service Commissioner? The honorable senator spoke of the great efficiency displayed in the operations of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company, by reason of the fact that they adopted for many of their processes up-io-date methods. But is the company managed by a Board ? It is managed by one man - Mr. Delprat, the general manager.
– Their expert is Mr. Baker, the manager at Newcastle.
– He may be their expert, but the general manager of the company is one man, and not a Board. It is quite competent for us to give the Public Service Commissioner .power to engage specialists for the different Departments where special skill, knowledge, or ability is required. Are we to assume that themembers of the Board will travel round, and that one of them will inspect, for instance, dockyards or naval arsenals ? If we are to assume that, we must also assume that he will have the qualifications which Senator Russell’s friend did not have. He might not have those ‘qualifications. Then there are other activities which the Commonwealth will embark on, and which may require for anything like proper supervision of them, or proper check of their operations, special technical knowledge or skill. Are we to assume that the individual members of the Board, or any one of them, will have those special qualifications? The whole question before the Committee is whether we are to have one man as Public Service Commissioner) carrying out this Act. or “whether we are to have three. If there is much virtue in numbers, why not five? What virtue is there in three?
– Seven is a popular number.
– If we had seven we could have a representative of each State, as well as of the Commonwealth. I fail to see that any justification has yet been given for such a radical departure from the practice and principles of the past. I have kept an absolutely open mind on this matter. Discussing it with honorable senators during the adjournment, I have frankly said that I have not made up my mind, and that I was waiting to hear what justification the Government had “for departing from management by one Public Service Commissioner to management by a Board; and I must confess to a feeling of great disappointment in what has bean put forward by the Minister. What he has said is quite- interesting;, but would have just as much application to the administration of the Public
Service by a Commissioner as by a Board of three. There is one feature in the appointment of a Board which we. cannot overlook. It will need increased cost of administration. The chairman of the Board will, at any rate, receive as much as the Public Service Commissioner has done in the past, if not more, and, I presume, the other two members of the Board will receive as much as the Public Service Commissioner has received in the past, if not more. Are we going to get value for the extra expenditure?
SenatorThomas pointed out that
Boards have been appointed before now in many big undertakings or enterprises in connexion with the Government, but that in most instances the principle of one-man responsibility has been reverted to. It is all a question of responsibility. When the responsibility is divided amongst the members of a Board, there is not the same means afforded to those who are aggrieved by the administration to “sheet it home” to the proper quarter. The system generates discontent. I have little doubt that if we adopted the principle of a Board for the Public Service, before twelve months had gone by we should have from many quarters in the Service urgent demands for the abolition of the Board and a return to management by a Public Service Commissioner. Senator Thomas referred to New South Wales, where for some years the railways were administered by three Commissioners. Those three reached such a stage in their relations with one another that they spoke only when they met officially on the Board. The honorable senator also quoted Mr. Jensen, the exMinister of the Navy, as having recently said in evidence in Sydney, I suppose upon oath, that those carrying on Naval administration - the members of the Naval Board would notsay “ Good day “ to one another in the street. What sort of organized administration could we expect from discordant units like that, when their normal attitude is one of antipathy and antagonism to one another, and when they work in unison only when they come to the Board table, and then do so under compulsion because they are bound to do it as a matter of duty?. I do not say that the three members of this
Board will necessarily behave inthis way ; but Senator Thomas has given us two concrete instances where such discord and want of harmony existed. There is no means of “ sheeting home “ the responsibility. Sometimes, in connexion with Boards of this kind, one member takes one division of the work, and another another division, and so on. If a matter concerning a certain branch of the administration is referred to one of the members of the Board who does not take particular responsibility for that part of the work, he may frankly say, “ I really do not know very much about that; A attends to it;. I only attend to so-and-so.” We have had that arrangement in connexion with railway management. One Railways Commissioner will probably confine himself almost entirely to transportation, while another devotes himself largely to the question of lines and equipment, and a third will deal with the officers themselves or with the general public.
SenatorThomas. - That is so in New South Wales. It is specified in the Act there.
– There is inthis Bill no specific allocation of divisions of work and responsibility. I have waited to hear what was to be said in justification of this proposal, and I feel that, on what has come before us, we should hesitate before we submit the Commonwealth to the increased expenditure that it will necessarily entail, unless we are satisfied that we shall get from it something that we would not get without the appointment of a Board. I do not think the appointment of two extra men, making three in all, will lessen the employment of the staff of the Public Service Commissioner. I am inclined to believe that the official staff of the Board will be very much larger than the staff of a single Commissioner. I do not think we shall get a proportionate advantage from the new departure. Unless some more solid prospect is presented to us as likely to result from the adoption of the new principle, I shall feel compelled to support Senator Thomas’ amendment to leave the control of the Public Service administration in the hands of one officer - a Public Service Commissioner, or whatever he may be called.
– I listened with a great deal of interest to the Minister’s remarks. He spoke of the efficiency that a Board would command. I have had a considerable amount of experience with various Boards, and I know that Boards usually end in cliques, not only in the Public Service, but elsewhere. The Minister (Senator Russell) said that probably ohe man would deal with telephony and telegraphy and another with organization. In my opinion, it would be utterly futile and impossible to deal in that way with organization, which is an extraordinarily big question. If you have a machine, you employ experts to handle it, and that machine is designed specially to deal with the problem in hand. At present the Government are not going in for any system of scientific employment, nor do they put the same amount of care and thought into the engagement of men that they put into the buying of a machine. Is it thought that any one man on the Board can take up the question of organization? If we are to deal with organization in a thoroughly scientific manner, we must have laboratories, and efficiency engineers, and testing rooms. That system has been carried out in many of the great American corporations, and has produced phenomenal results. It can produce results equally phenomenal in the Public Service of Australia, if it is properly applied. Experts must first be appointed to deal with the question of scientific employment. I can quote the result in the case of one corporation in America. The clerks were tested, and it was found, after grading them, that a man had been getting £500 per annum for ten years who was worth only £200 per annum. That represented a waste of £3,000 over that period. It is impossible for any one .Commissioner to do all this. In America, in carrying out this -system, they take first the weight and height; and, if the Blackford system is adopted, the colour of the hair, the colour of the eyes, and the width between the eyes. They learn also the lung pressure by the use of a spirometer. Each man tested has to blow into it to show exactly the quantity of air that he is capable of exhaling. This has been found of great practical use. For instance, a man cannot get into the United
States Navy unless he can show 256 cubic inches pressure of air.
– I was wondering how the Board of Management is going to do that.’
– -It is utterly impossible. The honorable senator is perfectly right. I am mentioning these matters to. show the futility of expecting any one man to deal with the whole of the organization. A considerable number of laboratories and of experts in those laboratories will be required, and the data obtained there will have to be collected and recorded. All those tests are necessary to ascertain physical qualities which are essential in certain members in various portions of the Public Service. Then you come to the psychological problems, and there you require” psychological laboratories and experts. You must find out how much concentration a man can show. You must ascertain how dexterous he is. You ask him to take up pointers with one hand, and put them into holes in a board like a cribbage board, and next to do the same with the other hand, and then with both hands, and plot the results. You can then divide the number of people you have to deal with into those who are dexterous, or otherwise. Do honorable senators think that any one man, as Public Service Commissioner or as one member of a Board of three, or of five or six, can conduct work of that sort? Having got that far, a further step must then be taken. If the whole project is to be conducted by an organized method heads of Departments must also come within its scope. It would be futile to imagine how, if the head had not the energy, the personality, the reasoning power - the “ push,” in fact - to conduct his administration, the Department itself could be a live one. In the United States of America a series of tests is given in this direction. First, twenty simple questions are put, each requiring only one word for answer. The intention in this instance is to investigate the subject’s speed of thought. Then further questions are given which involve patient analysis. Other tests follow which probe one’s gifts of concentration, using deliberate interruptions with a view to ascertaining ability to concentrate. Dictation tests are given, with sudden stoppages, to require the person undergoing the test to add up a sum, which, indicates concentration and recovery from interruption. Efficiency is the one field in which the Government possess opportunities far and away beyond those belonging to private enterprise. If there is one man at the head, of affairs, or if there are fifty, there must still be laboratories and efficiency engineers, who will record and report. As for the merits of efficiency tests, seeing that they can provide mathematical results of human capacities and gifts of specialization, it must be seen that every member of the Public Service would have his fair opportunities of promotion, and of earning rewards in keeping with his qualifications.. One of the difficulties in the Service today is the Jack of efficiency, the absence of real organization, and the dearth of opportunities for brilliant young men to advance. Men of this latter type cannot see daylight ahead of them, in serving the public. The result is that, if they have any ambition, they get out and enter the ranks of private enterprise. They get away from the Public Service, which affords opportunities of advancement practically only by way of the retirement’ or death of seniors. In private employment, however, efficiency tells. Merit, however youthful, may make itself felt. A great opportunity is afforded the, Government to inaugurate efficiency tests and laboratory investigations. Only the Government can expend the necessary money upon the establishment of such a system. All that the Minister has said in support of the clause was perfectly .correct, but his arguments were more correctly applicable to the selection of one man than of three. With one man at the head, and ha vin sr an efficient card system so that he could lay Iris hand on any member of the Service, and. say with emphatic exactitude. “ Such and such are your. qualifications, and such and such is ‘the position which they entitle you to hold,” there could be brought about genuine efficiency and, at the same time, satisfaction throughout the Service. I support the amendment because I believe that to depart from the principle of having a single official at the head of affairs would not be for the benefit of the Commonwealth Service.
.- I have .listened with considerable interest to the two previous speakers, and I agree with a great deal of what has been said. I shall vote for the clause as it stands, however, because I believe that to have a number of men in control of the Public Service is better than to place authority within the autocratic power of one individual. One of the greatest needs of the Service is to foster contentment among its personnel. Such a sentiment does not exist to-day. Only by creating a general feeling of satisfaction can we hope to secure the greatest degree, of efficiency. Whether there are three or four or seven members of the Board it will be impossible for any one of them to become, or be regarded as, an expert in any of the various Departments and Branches of Departments. With a Board of three, however, there should be a better chance of bringing about good feeling towards the administration than in the case of one mau being given sole control. The reference to the Broken Hill Proprietary Company does not supply a fair illustration.
– That company can dismiss an employee at a week’s notice, but no public servant can be got rid df like that.
– That is so. Wa would have to pay our public officers much higher salaries if they had not the assurance of continuous employment. Private enterprise has an advantage over public employment in that there is greater scope for promotion out merit. I repeat that, even “with a Board of halfadozen men, or more, it could not be expected that any one of them would be an expert in any particular Department or Branch.
– -No, but the Board could employ specialists.
– That argument, of course, applies whether there be a Board of three or one .Commissioner. My chief point is that if there are three members, discussing questions affecting the Public Service their decisions will probably give greater satisfaction than a decision by one man. The appointment of three, therefore, will prove best in the interests both of the Service and of the general taxpayer. There is another consideration, namely, that if the Board is to consist of three, one of its members should be a. direct representative of the Public Service organizations. I do not suggest that this representative should be selected by popular vote, but that he should be the nominee of the High Council which, itself, is appointed by the Public Service Associations. There would certainly be a better feeling if the Service were given such a direct voice in its own affairs. I oppose the amendment, and shall endeavour to have the clause amended to provide that one of the three members of the Board shall be the nominee of the Public Service organizations.
– I have listened with pleasure and interest to the remarks of Senator J. D. Millen, and I agree with his suggestion that we should introduce into our Public Service the most up-to-date business systems.; but I failed to detect any argument against the appointment of the proposed Board. I intend to support the clause, and I was hoping that the VicePresident of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) would express his opinion on the suggestion made by Senator Earle. The idea of allowing the employees to be represented on Boards of this character is not new, because some, of the large companies in England - notably the gas companies - have adopted that principle, which has worked well.I understand from the wording of the suggestions from the High Council of ‘ the Public Service Associations that they desire a member of the Service to be selected from persons nominated by those associations. I presume a certain number of. names would be submitted, from which the Government would make a selection. I believe it is a principle worth adopting, as it would be the means of insuring a more contented Service. I shall support the appointment of the proposed Board, on which; I think the Service should have representation.
.- Speaking to the amendment of Senator Thomas, the whole question resolves itself into one of whether the Commonwealth Service, as at present controlled, is satisfactory to the; taxpayers of the Commonwealth. Personally, I do not think it is, and I believe the majority of public men in Australia consider that a very marked improvement is necessary before those who have to find the money to conduct the Service are likely to be satisfied. The Minister in charge of the Bill has clearly expressed his views.
– I did not wish to attack individuals who are compelled to work an overloaded! machine.
Senator. PAYNE do not intend doing that; but I think it must be patent to every one who watches the progress of various Departments that more effective organization and better control would be the means of producing better returns. The Service has been under the control of a Public Service Commissioner or an Acting Commissioner for many years, and the Government are justified in introducing a. proposal which they believe will be an improvement on what we have had in the past. If the proposed Board does not do all we desire, I believe it will be the means of improving the Service in many directions, particularly if the Public Service has a representative on the Board. I listened with interest to the remarks of Senator J. D. Millen, and I trust that the day will arrive when his desires will be gratified. Although his suggestions are very useful for future consideration, we have to act immediately if we desire to improve the Service, and that could not be done if we adopted the honorable senator’s suggestion. At the entrance to this building a visitor is at once confronted with these wise words, “ In the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”
– It is also said, that “ Too many cooks spoil the broth.”
– But those words are not found in legislative halls. The duties of the Commissioners are clearly defined in the Bill, and if we pass the clause with the amendment I propose moving, I believe that great improvements will be effected. If Senator J. D. Millen’s suggestions were carried out it would necessitate placing our Public Service legislation in the melting-pot and dispensing entirely with the present classification scheme.
– Let the classification schemego.
– We cannot do that at this juncture. In the measure before us we are asked to provide those who have to carry on the Public Service with more up-to-date machinery than we have at present, and that provided in this Pill should be more effective than that which it is to repeal. I support the clause and oppose the amendment moved by Senator Thomas.
– I followed the utterances of Senator J. D. Millen . and Senator Keating with a good deal of interest. The Minister in charge of the Bill, however, never attempted to reply in any way to the points I raised.
– The honorable senator asked me to define the functions of the proposed Board, and I did so.
– I endeavoured to show that it was impossible for a Board constituted in this way to do what is intended. The Minister for Defence (SenatorPearce), in discussing a similar measure some time ago, said it would require the ablest business men in Australia to undertake the duties outlined in clause 15 of this measure; but, in addition to those duties, the proposedBoardwill also have other matters to control. A Board such as Senator J. D. Millen suggests would be absolutely hampered if it had to carry out the duties enumerated in this measure. We have been informed that it is practically impossible for Ministers to deal in detail with the multifarious duties they are expected to perform; but their duties are nothing when compared with those of a Public Service Commissioner. The Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) said that up-to-date methods were required in the Service, and that calculating and adding machines have been of inestimable value in compiling the census. I had the pleasure of introducing adding and multiplying machines in the PostmasterGeneral’s Department in 1911, and, shortly afterwards, Mr. Fraser recommended the purchase of some more, so that eventually close on £4,000 worth of machines were introduced in the Department.
– They have had them in the Statistician’s office for years.
– Surely we should not have to wait for the appointment of a Board to recommend the use of such machines.
– We have had them in limited numbers.
– It may be desirable to have an Efficiency Board consisting of three members, as suggested by the Economies Commission.
– The Economies Commission approved of the appointment of a Board such as that provided for in the Bill.
– If the Minister for Defence will refer to page 20 of the report of the Economies Commission he will see what is recommended.
– Will the honorable senator accept my assurance that the members of the Economies Commission, when asked for their opinion, said that they approved of the appointment of the Board with the duties which we have suggested?
– I am prepared to accept the Minister’s assurance; but at the same time it is very strange that they should make one recommendation, and later express a totally different opinion. If such is the case it shows that they do not know what they are talking about, and their report is, therefore, of little value.
– The Bill was drafted subsequent to the publication of their report, and they were then asked for their opinion.
– The final report was brought in after the Bill had been introduced, which contained almost word for word the provision which is now in this measure.
– The Government had the report for several months before it was laid on the table, and during that time’ a Bill was being drafted.
– Not the final report, because the Board replied to certain criticism in Parliament which had been hurled against their recommendations. The Economies Commission recommended the appointment of an Efficiency Board, and if we are to have efficiency in the Service a Board of Control must not be part of the machine. Senator Earle has said that he does not believe in autocratic rule, and favours a Board consisting of three members. Are the three members to have equal voting power?
– I assume so.
– Then two will out-vote the other.
– The honorable senator’s arguments would apply in this Chamber, where the majority rule.
– There are times when one ventures to say that votes are weighed, and not counted.
– The report in which the Commission recommended the Board was signed on the 17th July, and was printed as a parliamentary paper on the 17th October. We had the report in hand for three months before it was laid on the table.
– I was referring to the final report, in which the Commission replied to criticism. If, under the Government proposal, the chairman of the Board is paid more than the other members, we may have two inferior men outvoting the superior chairman. If the members of the Board are of equal ability, and are equally paid, they will differ amongst themselves. I strongly object to the proposal, especially if the amendment suggested by Senator Earle is carried. I would have no objection to a direct representative of the public servants occupying a seat on the Board, but he should not be the nominee of any executive. He should be appointed as the result of a straight-out vote in his favour by the whole of the members of the Service.
– I prefer to leave that to the organizations. I would let them decide it.
– That is a matter of opinion, and I would not leave it to the organizations. If a member of the General Division, as the result of a vote of the whole of the Service, is appointed to the Board, he may have been a man previously in receipt of a salary of £220 per year, but he will then be given the position of a member of the Board and will have an equal vote with the chairman, who will be selected, it is assumed, because he is the best and ablest man that the Government can find in Australia for the position. No mining company or big corporation desiring to secure efficiency in carrying on its operations would think of appointing three general managers who must discuss every proposal made until two out of the three are. of the same opinion. The Government proposal has been tried in Australia again and again” and has been abandoned everywhere it has been tried.
– Why not provide that the chairman of the Board snail be paramount?
– That would be autocracy. If one member of the Board were made supreme and the other two were merely his assistants, I should not have so much objection to offer, though I think that, in that case, we should be paying one assistant, practically, for nothing. If all three Commissioners are to have equal voting power and equal pay, the same man should not be chairman of the Board all the time. A big conference takes place every three or four years in America, known as the Methodist Episcopal Conference. There are only thirteen Bishops at the Conference, and each is allowed to occupy the chair for only one day.
– The time allowed the honorable senator under the standing order has expired.
.- I listened with great interest to Senator J. D. Millen, but I think he overlooked the fact that, although, for the last twenty years we have had the Public Service controlled by one Commissioner, none of the great reforms he has advocated have been brought about.
– Then, it is time to change him. Obviously, he is not up to date.
– The trouble is that for a long time we have not had a Public Service Commissioner. We have had a man acting as Public Service Commissioner.
– There was a great deal of force in the remarks made by Senator Thomas, and, having listened to the whole debate, I would welcome an amendment from the honorable senator to make the chairman of the Board paramount at sittings of that body.
– Then we should have the power in the hands of one man, and not in the hands of three.
– That is so; but the chairman would have the advice and assistance of his colleagues.
– The Public Service Commissioner has the advice and assistance of the heads of Departments, including technical experts.
– Has he the advice of business experts?
-He should have that advice. .
– I do not think that he has it at present. This proposal would give the Government an opportunity to associate with a man of good organizing power two men who have been successful in the business world. At present, the Commissioner may seek the advice of the heads of Departments, but they are concerned with their own particular work.I regardthe Government proposal as an advance on the existing system, and I shall be prepared tovote for it, leaving myself free to support an amendment which would prevent any clashing or dissension betweenthe members of the proposed Board.
– If theGovernement think fit to appoint three men with equal voting power, I say let them do so.
– Would not the honorable senator be prepared, to vote for a Board of three if the chairman were given paramount authority?
– I willnotmove in that direction, but I would be prepared to support such an amendment of the Government proposal.
– I consider that the present system’ requires alteration. The Government in attempting to grapple with the difficultyinvite constructive criticism, and if Senators Thomas, and J. D. Millen consider that the members of the proposed Board are likely to get at loggerheads amongst themselves, it is up to them to submit an amendment to obviate that difficulty. If they will not do so, I must support the Government proposal.
. - I want to point out what this Board will have to do. Honorable members know what is contained in clause 15, and will recognise that under it the members of the Board may have to consider the introduction of adding machines.
– Order! The honorable member must not discuss the functions of the proposed Board on the question now before the Chair.
– I, of course, bow to your ruling; but am I to understand that when we are discussing the appointment of a Board we may not incidentally refer to what the Board will be called upon to do ?
– The honorable senator is at liberty to make an incidental reference to the work of the Board, but he should not anticipate the discussion of clause 15.
– I had concluded my reference to clause 15 by saying that every honorable senator knows what it contains. May I be allowed to say that another function of the Board will bethat of listening to appeals? If a man iff dismissed from the Service., he may appeal to the Appeal Board, who will send him to the Board of Management.
– Appeals are very rare, and are chiefly in connexion with increments and promotions.
– I hope that honorable senators will not run away with the idea that there is no attempt under the present regime to bring about economy. If they read the report of the Economies Commission, they will find that such attempts have been made.
– No one said that they had not. The honorable senator is setting up an Aunt Sally merely in order to knock it down.
– From the talk we have heard about the Economies Commission’s report, and the need for efficiency-, one might suppose that there was a general impression that no attempt had been made under the existing regime to bring about economy. In the report of the Economies Commission, I find an account of a pile of papers comprising forty-nine foolscap pages containing numerous reports as to the existence of rats in various offices. There are reports of therats and mice caught on various occasions, as well as a few suggestions to meet the trouble. A man appointed to catch rats in the General , Post Office in New South Wales was dismissed - according to a minute by Mr. Oxenham, which appears on the papers - because it was pointed out that this man was employed as a rat-catcher at 9s.7d. per day, that the number of rats he caught during 234 working days, was 814, equal, approximately, to 31/2 rats per. day, which works out at 2s. 9d. per rat.
– I ask the honorable senator to connect his remarks with the amendment he has submitted. ‘ In the interest of honorable senators, I cannot allow the discussion to. become too expansive and vague.
– I was going, to point out that if this rat-catcher who was dismissed had been a permanent officer, he would have had the right to appeal to the Board. One letter is as follows: -
It is stated that a rat-catcher has been employed for five or six years. Will you please state if you consider the present arrangement for catching rats is economical, and whether some more economical and equally efficient method of dealing with rats cannot be devised; and, if so, why the question has not received consideration before this?
-The question is whether the rat-catcher was an officer or a temporary employee.
-As it happened, in thiscase he was a temporary employee, and could not appeal. The Department wanted the junior officers to set traps in order to save the salary of the rat-
Batcher, but the junior officers objected to do the work without gloves. All this is in the correspondence: They asked for gloves that cost 10s. apair, but Mr. Oxenham wroteacross saying that they could have cotton gloves which cost only 1s. 6d. a pair.It cost the Deputy PostmasterGeneral, the senior inspector, and the other inspectors, a tremendous amount of time and writing to deal with the matter. It will be impossible for the Board to do what is expected of them under clause 15, if they have appeals of that kind to put up with. It will be impossible for them to do what Senator John D. Millen wants done in order to bring about efficiency in the Departments. I, therefore, ask that we should have one Commissioner to deal absolutely with the Service. If, then, another Board is suggested, which will in no way deal with the Public Service, but will have the right to go into the Departments and do what is required under clause 15, that is a different matter altogether.
– If the proposal of the Government in its present form is carried, and a Board of Commissioners is appointed, will that Board have power, as the board of directors of acompany would, toappoint under it, for purposes of efficient administration, a general manager or an officer corresponding to a general manager, to take on the general administration, while the Board dealt only with matters of policy, or appeals, or other questions of a general policy character? It has been pointed out that the Broken Hill Proprietary Company has a general manager. Above him there is a board of directors, but the directors do not individually take part in the detailsof management, although possibly certain directors take a special interest indifferent divisions of the company’s activities.
– Would not the Ministry represent the board of directors ?
– The Ministry will represent a Board above the Board. Is there anything in the Bill to give the
PublicService Board power to appoint a general manager, or somebody corresponding to a general manager, as the board of directors of amining company can do?
SenatorRUSSELL (Victoria- VicePresident of the Executive Council) [9.36].- Under this Bill the head of a Department is practically the general manager of his branch of the business. Outside of a few limitations regarding matters of policy, which are reserved for Ministers, the members of the Board will have full control and authority to make suggestions, or to make improvements in the organization. I know no limitations on their power to make recommendations or suggestions to the heads of Departments. If the heads of Departments do not agree, or if subsequently the Minister does not agree, the members of the Board can appeal to Parliament. It will be a good thing for Parliament to toe consulted when there is a dispute between the Board and a Minister.
– The next appeal to Parliament will be to abolish the Board.
– If the Board can appeal to Parliament, their power is practically unlimited. Although it has been said that the Board is not strong, I do not know anything that they could not do in regard to the control of the Service with the co-operation of Ministers, or withthe supportof Parliament. I do not know how they could be given greater powers, unless they were actually made Ministers themselves.
– In their final report the Economies Commission say, on the question of management in thePublic Service -
We are of the opinion that, in order to con-, tinuously secure reasonable efficiency and economy, machinery must be set up which will insure that failures and extravagance will be brought automatically to the light of publicity. This can only be secured if the duty of continuous criticism, and the duty of seeing that fair value is receivedfor moneyexpended is placed in the hands of individuals who are -not in any way to blame for the failures, and who will measure the efficiency and economy of all Departments, and fearlessly bring to light all failures, and with power to report direct to Parliament on the same principle as the Auditor-General is expected to fearlessly bring to light any lapses in honest and accurate accounting, and empowered to report direct to Parliament.
To arm the proposed Boardof Management with the powerof selection, appointment, reward and punishment would relieve the executive officers of responsibility, and place it upon the shoulders of the Board of Management, thus hampering its freedom of criticism, and its desire to criticise, so destroying the objective of its creation.
We shall help to destroy, the objective of the creation of the Board by allowing appeals to be made to it, and by making . it practically responsible for the Public’ Service.
Senate adjourned at 9.40 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 6 July 1921, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1921/19210706_senate_8_96/>.