8th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
Treatment of Complaints by Returned Soldiers.
– I wish to know from the Minister for Repatriation if he is in sympathy with the suggestion that every complaint madeby a returned soldier should be dealt with on its merits, and not solely in accordance with hard and fast regulations.From my experience there are many cases which might be satisfactorily dealt with on their merits by the exercise of a little give and take which cannot be satisfactorily dealt with if the regulations are rigidly applied.
– It is not possible to answer the honorable senator’s question. The War Service Homes scheme is a business proposition, as it should be ; but if, in the effort to consider a case on its merits, and not on business principles, sentiment were allowed to exercise too great an influence, it would obviously become a benevolent institution rather than a business proposition.
– Senator Adamson referred to the Repatriation Department.
– Then I beg Senator Adamson’s pardon. His suggestion is in accordance with the principle which underlies the Repatriation Act, but where there are certain definite prohibitions and directions in that Act, it would not be right or proper for the Commissioners to take the responsibility of violating the provisions of the measure. The proper course would be for Parliament to amend it if it requires amending.
– I meant to suggest that cases arising under the Repatriation Department, the War Service Homes Commission, tubercular cases, and others affecting returned soldiers, should be dealt with on their merits.
– They are so dealt with except where the Act prevents that being done.
– In view of the probably unauthorized rumours about the session being brought to a close next week, I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether he will see to it that members of this Chamber are given a fair opporunity to discuss the Appropriation Bill?
– The honorable senator, as an old parliamentarian, knows that he has put a question to me that is extremely difficult to answer. I can only tell him the probabilities of the case. It is anticipated that in another place the Estimates will be dealt with before the House rises to-night, or at least to-morrow. In that case, the Appropriation Bill will be available for the consideration of the Senate next week. Later on I shall ask honorable senators to consider the question of meeting next week before Wednesday. If honorable senators are of opinion that bymeeting on Tuesday we shall be able to finish the business which the Government will invite them to undertake next week, I shall ask them to meet on that day. If Senator. Lynch and others desire that we should meet on Monday next week, the Government will raise no objection.
Recognition of Senate
– I ask the Minister, for Repatriation, as representing the Go vernment in this Chamber, whether he does not think that the Government forgot themselves a little at the function which was held last night in honour of Sir Joseph Cook, the High Commissioner. The selection of speakers on the occasion would lead to the impression that such a Chamber as this does not exist. In view of the fact that this is not the first time something similar has occurred, and that the Government have an infinitely greater following in this Chamber than in another place, I ask whether at the next function of the kind some indication will be afforded of the manner in which the Government propose to select speakers in order that members of the Senate shall be in a position to decide whether, as selfrespectingmembers of this Parliament, they can attend the function at all?
– Order! The, honorable senator is not in order in making statements in asking his question.
– I shall leave it at that.
– The honorable senator’s question reminds me that Ministers were engaged with members of this Chamber last night in very solemn communion, which, I hope, resulted profitably to those who were present. I know nothing as to the arrangement for speakers. I take the liberty of doubting if any arrangement were made, for the reason that, as honorable senators are aware, Ministers, and particularly the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), have, during the last few days, scarcely had a moment to call their own. I am sure that, in the circumstances, no honorable senator would think of finding fault with the Prime Minister in connexion with the matter.
– We wished to hear the honorable senator.
– I am quite certain that the Prime Minister did not contemplate any slight upon the Senate. I understand that he looked to meto speak for this Chamber. Circumstances prevented me from being present, and, on that account, I imagine I must be an object of sympathy to those who were there. I do ask honorable senators to dispel from their minds any suspicion that there was any intention to reflect upon the Senate.
Alleged Repudiation by the Government.
asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice -
Is there anything to justify the statement by a Minister of the Crown in South Australia that the Commonwealth Government evidently intend, to a large extent, to repudiate their obligationsto the soldiers?
– There is no justification for the statement. There has been a notification of the conditions under which the Commonwealth Government are making financial advances for the purpose of soldier settlement. But the statement that it represents, in any way, a repudiation of obligations to returned soldiers is entirely without foundation.
Charges by Messrs. Ashworth and Caldwell.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
In view of the controversy relative to the Caldwell case, will the Minister place on the table of the Senate the files relating to the case, including all minutes of the Ministers concerned and all correspondence with the High Commissioner of the Western Pacific relating thereto, and all communications between Mr. Caldwell or his solicitors and the Departments concerned?
– There is no objection to tabling the correspondence. It may take a few days to collect, as more than one Department is involved. I shall see that all possible expedition is used in the matter.
Motion (by’ Senator Russell) agreed to-
That leave be given to introduce a Bill for . an Act to amend the Trading with the Enemy Act 1014-1916.
Bill (presented, and (on motion by Senator Russell) read a first time.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 1st December, vide page 13469) :
Proposed new clause 7a -
Notwithstanding anything contained in in this Act -
all appointments or promotions of officers of the Senate shall be made by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the President of the Senate;
all appointments or promotions of officers of the House of Representatives shall be made by the GovernorGeneral on the recommendation of the Speaker;
all appointments or promotions of officers of both Houses of Parliament shall be made by the GovernorGeneral on the joint recommendation of the President and the Speaker; and
the President or the Speaker or the President and the Speaker, as the case may be, may from time to time fix the periods of recreation leave which may be granted to officers of the Parliament.
Subject to this section, unless inconsistent with the context, any action or approval required by this Act or the regulations there- under to be taken or given by the Board may, so far as officers of the Parliament are concerned, be taken or given by the President or the Speaker or the President and the Speaker (as the case may be) in substitution for the Board, and any action required or authorized by this Act or the regulations thereunder to be taken by a Permanent Bead or Chief Officer shall or may be taken by the Clerk of the Senate so faras relates to officers of the Senate, and by the Clerk of the House of Representatives so far as relates to officers of that House, and by the Parliamentary Librarian so far as relates to officers of the Parliamentary Library, and by the Principal Parliamentary Reporter so far as relates to officers of the Parliamentary Reporting Staff, and by the Secretary of the Joint House Department so far as relates to officers of that Department.
Any reference in this Act or the regulations thereunder to the Minister shall so far as the Departments of the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Parliamentary Library, the Parliamentary Reporting Staff,” and the Joint House Department are concerned be read as a reference to the President or the Speaker or the President and the Speaker (as the case may be).
The officers of the Senate, the officers of the House of Representatives, the officers of the Parliamentary Library, the officers of the Parliamentary Reporting Staff, and the officers ofthe Joint House Department shall be deemed to constitute separate Departments under this Act.
The classification of officers of’ the Parliament shall be made by the President or the Speaker or by the President and the Speaker, as the case may be :
Provided that if the President or the Speaker or the President and the Speaker (as the case may be), by writing addressed to the Chairman of the Board, requests the Board to classify any officers of the Parliament, , the Board shall classify those officers in the manner provided in this Act.
The Governor-General may, on the recommendation of the President or the Speaker or the President and the Speaker (as the case may be) make, in relation to officers of the Parliament, regulations prescribing all matters in relation to which the Board is, by this Act, authorized to make regulations.
Any regulation made under this Act by the Board shall apply to officers of the Parliament unless and until -
a regulation is made under the last preceding sub-section inconsistent with, or prescribing matters dealt with in, that first-mentioned regulation ; or
the Governor-General,upon the recommendation of the President or the Speaker or the President and the Speaker (as the case may be), by order declares that such regulation shall not apply to officers of the Parliament
Upon which Senator de Largie had moved, by way of amendment -
That the following words be added to paragraph (a) of sub-clause (1) : - “ and the House Committee.”
– Arguments were used yesterday in the debate on this clause raising the question whether the President already has sufficient power to deal with servants of the Senate, and also whether he has not too much power, inasmuch as, if he be a man of a certain temperament, he might possibly become an autocrat, if he were not one already. It was represented also that the House Committee should have power over the officers of the Senate. Thinking over some of the arguments which were adduced by Senator Givens, I have wondered whether the honorable senator could have been justified in what he said. He told the Committee that at least twenty members of the Senate had approached him, and had used undue influence in connexion with certain appointments to offices in connexion with this Parliament. He argued that it would be quite rights and within the bounds of decency, for a member of the Senate merely to write to the President in regard to the appointment of some individual; ibut that the twenty men to whom he had referred had used undue influence. I have no wish to indulge in anything which mightbe considered offensivelypersonal in this debate. I think we should recognise our responsibilities as senators; and I have no wish that anything I may say should be taken as of a personal character. It is some thing to know that we have at least one Presiding Officer who can give himself a first class testimonial and say, “While I have had twenty of you men come to me and seek to exercise undue influence, I remained the great, firm rock, and was not influenced by you people. I recognised that the Presiding Officer was a separate entity from Senator Givens from Queensland, and I refused to allow any of you people to influence me unduly in regard to appointments.”’ It is very nice to know that we have a President who is able to subscribe to so fine a testimonial for himself; but I think thatsuch a charge, if true, in regard to members of the Senate, should not be capable of bearing such an interpretation as was placed upon it by some members of the Committee yesterday. The statement was stressed by Senator Givens, and by other members of this Committee, that the officers of Parliament are under the control of Parliament, and ought not to be under the control of the Government or the Public Service Commissioner. It places a senator in rather a difficult position if it is said that when standing in his place in the Chamber he can criticise the Presiding Officer regarding the appointment, promotion, or dismissal of a member of the staff,but that in his private capacity, outside the doors of the Chamber, he is not allowed to have any voice. If I make a suggestion to whoever happens to he the Presiding Officer of the Senate regarding an applicant for a position, am I guilty of corruption, and of endeavouring to use undue influence ? The Usher of the Black Rod, Mr. Broinowski, came to me a few weeks ago and questioned me in regard to a man who was seeking appointment to a junior position on the staff of the Senate. He asked me what I knew about the man, and so forth. Suppose I had given a very favorable report, which I did not, and suppose I had urged that the applicant was the right man to be appointed, and had done all I could for him, could I be accused of having tried to use undue influence? If I had gone on my own account to the officer who was responsible for the recommendation, without having been approached, I would, according to the arguments advanced in this Committee yesterday, have been using undue influence. The charge against threefifths of the members of this Senate of using “undue influence” was stressed in the debate yesterday by the Presiding Officer of the Senate.
– Does the accusation apply to present senators, or to senators over a number of years?
– I do not know, and I do not want to attribute any statement to Senator Givens that he did not make. I do not think that Senator Givens said he had been approachedby twenty senators in regard to one appointment.
– He did say that.
– If members of the Senate insist upon retaining authority and responsibility in regard to the control of officers of Parliament, they must see that the duty is carried out properly. To be toldby any Presiding Officer that we have delegated our authority to the
Presiding Officer, and must therefore have nothing further to say, is not in accordance with what ought to be the practice. I do not think that any honorable senator should be charged with improper conductbecause he recommends a person in whomhe may have no personal interest, and for whom he has merely been asked to do what he can. Are we to say that when any one approaches the Presiding Officer, who is a separate entity from a senator representing a State, he is seeking to use political influence? I am sure that every Presiding Officer must have been approached by persons outside the Chamber, and! asked to do what he could for a candidate for a certain position. If any one approaches the Presiding Officer asan entity representing a State, and asks him to use his influence with the Presiding Officer, as another entity, the position becomes absurd. Senator Wilson stated yesterday that there was discontent among the officers of Parliament. I find that that has been the case, not only with the officials we meet in the Chamber, but with the Hansard Staff and others. I am not going to enter into the rights and wrongs of that question ; but I say that if we had a Presiding Officer who was dictatorial, who wanted only those people to serve him who would bow to his autocratic will, and who would appoint only those men who would do the necessary”smoodging’ ‘ to him, the candidates passed over ought to have the right of ‘appeal to the House Committee. If the suggestion of Senator Wilson were adopted, and all appointments to the staff of the Chamber were under the control of those members of the Senate who are members of the House Committee, the President would stillbe able to act in the absence of members of the House Committee. There should be within this Chamber some body of men to whom an aggrieved person can appeal against the Presiding Officer’s decisions. It is all very well for a Presiding Officer to say, “ I am in the hands of members of the Senate.” How many honorable senators would be prepared to come into the Chamber and move a vote of censure on the Presiding Officer because of some action he had taken - probably a right and fair action, judged from his own temperamental view-point, but which, in the opinion of other senators, -was unfair and unjust ? As has been said in the press recently, in regard to an official who was made the subject of some inquiry, it is not becoming to the dignity of the Chamber that members should fight the cases of individuals, who may be employed in junior capacities on the staff, but who are entitled to all the justice that we expect in the honorable positions that we occupy. If the Committee ia not directly responsible for the employment, promotion and welfare of officers, it should at least be a Court of Appeal to which any aggrieved individual can go.
Senator GIVENS (Queensland) (ll. 22], - I want to remove one or two misapprehensions which Senator Foster and some other honorable senators appear to be labouring under. Senator Foster gave expression to the wish, that the debate should be kept free from personalities, and followed that up by making an undeserved statement that I was giving myself a first-rate character. I never attempted to do any such thing. There is no necessity for me to give myself a character of any kind. All I did was merely to relate the facts. Senator Foster asked whether it would be wrong for a member of the Senate to give a testimonial of fitness of character. . I replied “ Undoubtedly not.” Every one is entitled to do that; but when one person buttonholes another who has appointments to make, and suggests that he should do this and that in favour of one particular applicant, if notice is taken of those representations, undue advantage would be given to one candidate as against others who had no member of Parliament to speak for them.
– The same argument could be applied if a member of Parliament approached a Minister.
– Ministers have nothing to do with appointments to the Public Service.
– They appointed Lieut. -Colonel Walker.
– All political influence in the making of appointments is objectionable, and not only is it objectionable, but it is contrary to the Act under which we have been working. It is one thing to give a certificate of character or fitness, but quite another thing to buttonhole a man and ask for special concessions, especially if the applicant happens to be a relative or a personal friend. In all the appointments that have been made during* my term as Presiding Officer, not one of the men appointed has been known to me in any capacity whatever until he came before me as an applicant. I had not the remotest connexion with any of them, or the remotest knowledge of them. It was said yesterday that until I became Presiding Officer the Committee was always consulted. I have looked up the records, and find that that statement is not correct. In the first Parliament of the Commonwealth, before the Public Service Act was passed, Sir Richard Chaffey Baker did consult the Committee. He did that because there was no Public Service Act to guide him, but immediately the Act came into operation he ceased the practice, and obeyed the law. The records of Parliament prove the accuracy of that statement. Parliament was consulted in connexion with the Joint House Committee staff, but not in regard to the Senate staff.
– They, were consulted. I was- there, and can speak with authority.
– Senator de Largie’ s recollection may be all right, but I prefer to accept the written records. It might be a happy relief to most Presidents if they were relieved of the responsibility of controlling these appointments, and were spared the continual nagging that takes’ place; but it would be a, bad thing for the officers of the Senate if every member of the staff, from the highest to. the -lowest, was free to buttonhole every member of the Committee and seek personal favours and concessions. It would destroy all discipline and all good feeling among the staff. Every officer would be trying to get the better of every other officer, and to “ work “ as many members of the Committee on his behalf as possible, lt is true that it might be invidious for an honorable senator to submit a motion objecting to the action of the Presiding Officer, but the Presiding Officer is responsible, and if he does anything wrong he is amenable. Would the House Committee be equally amenable 1 Would it be under the control of the Senate in any way ? I have known members of Committees who, as soon as they could not get their own way, went into a temper and resigned their positions. If the House Committee had control there would be no responsibility at all. I plead with honorable senators, for the Bake , of the good service of this House and the discipline of the officers, to place the responsibility upon one Presiding Officer. It is a very bad thing to have divided authority, with no individual actually responsible, and with members of the staff trying to exert as much influence aa they can with memben’s of a Committee. If I were the Presiding Officer, and a Committee were given the measure of control that is proposed, I would refuse to accept responsibility. What is the head and front of my offending ? It is that I have obeyed the law, and the law is the expressed will of the Senate and Parliament. I would have been quite all- right so far as Senator de Largie is concerned if I had ‘acceded to his various requests; I would probably have been a favourite with him, but my appointments would have been his appointments, and while he would not have been responsible, I would. That would have been a ridiculous and absurd position. If some one else has a .right to dictate appointments, the Presiding Officer cannot be held responsible. The head of a Department, in making his recommendations, ought to be left absolutely free, especially in regard to the question of fitness. All applications for appointment should be addressed to the head of a Department, and, in the case of Senate, officers, the Clerk of the Senate ought to be free to make his recommendations without the exercise of any pressure by members of Parliament. Take the case of the head of the .Hansard Staff. He ought to be entirely free’ in the selection of his officers. I have had an assurance by the head of one Department that when an appointment was made a member had asked him to reconsider the claims of a particular applicant. That was highly improper. I trust the Committee will accept the amendments in the form in which they are submitted, because their effect will be .to continue the provisions Qf the Act and insure -the proper conduct of business. With, regard to dismissals, I may say that during the whole of .the eight years of my -occupancy of .the presidential .office ,only one officer has been dismissed, although, technically, there has been -another dismissal. I have very little acquaintance with officers of the Parliament, speaking generally. Therefore, I have to rely upon the reports of the heads of the various Departments under whose observation ‘the various 0111- cers are working. The dismissal to which I refer was that of a junior officer, whose services were dispensed with on the recommendation of the head of the Department, based not only upon his own observations, but also on complaints made by several members, not to ,me, but to the head of the Department. There has, as I have said, been another technical dismissal. There was no complaint against the officer concerned. He was doing his work properly, but, for private reasons, of which I know nothing, .he absented himself. To prove that his absence was voluntary on his part, I may say that when he left there was some money owing to him. After he had. been absent for a week without any explanation, he was suspended and an inquiry ordered, but no communication could reach -him,. After :he had been ab- sent foi” a month, in order to comply with the requirements of the Act, a charge had to be formulated against him, -and he was dismissed, .though, in reality, he had dismissed himself.
– It is somewhat difficult, I think, to confine .the debate upon this series of amendments to paragraph a of sub-clause 1 of the proposed new clause. I think we ought to deal with the matter as a whole. I cannot see my way clear to support -Senator df Largie’s amendment. In my judgment, it would be better for the President of the Senate to . have -full control over our officers. As a member of the House Committee, I object to that body being asked to accept any responsibility for the appointment or dismissal of officers, although, before my appointment I may have, held other ideas in regard to that .matter. Unless a member happens to live in Melbourne it is almost impossible to attend regularly the meetings of the House Committee. Since I have been a member of the Committee there have been four meetings, only two of which I have been able to attend.
– The honorable senator will recognise that .the notice of such meetings must be short.
– I quite agree, and, of course, I take the full blame for my absence from those meetings. In one case - I am not sure that the circumstances in regard to the other were not the .same - I received the notice of meeting in the usual way, but, as the Senate subsequently decided not to sit during the following week and as I was in Sydney, it was not likely that I would make a special trip across to Melbourne to attend a meeting of the House Committee. My recollection is that it was difficult to get a quorum on the two occasions when I was present at meetings of the House Committee. If the Committee were a Senate Committee no doubt the difficulty I mentioned could easily be overcome, but the Committee has to deal with matters relating not only to this Chamber, but to the other House as well.
– I must draw the honorable senator’s attention to the fact that, although the amendment does not specifically mention the House Committee of the Senate, that is implied. If I thought it was proposed to give the Joint House Committee jurisdiction over Senate officials, I would rule the amendment out of order. My conception of the amendment is that it refers to the Senate House Committee, and does not propose to confer any power upon members of another place to regulate appointments in the Senate.
– With all due respect, Mr. Chairman, I think that there is only one House Committee, and that is representative of both Houses.
– The honorable senator is in error. There is a Senate House Committee, which has power to confer with the House Committee of another place.
– If the position is as the Chairman states, then, one of my objections to Senator de Largie’s amendment is removed.
– What about joint officers of Parliament ?
– Senator Thomas is right. The various Parliamentary offices, excepting the Library, are under the control of the Joint House Committee, and there has never been a meeting of the Senate House Committee. There is only one secretary, who acts for the two Committees. A similar officer in another place acts as assistant secretary.
– Senator Givens supports what I have been saying. It is difficult for honorable senators to attend regularly the meetings of the House Committee, and if they were to be held responsible for appointments and dismissals ofofficersofParliamentthenIforone wouldasktoberelievedofmyposition on that Committee. I am not prepared to accept responsibility unless I have a fair opportunity to be present at all the meetings. I prefer to leave this business in the hands of the President. This should not be a personal matter at all. The President may be removed from office at any time if it is the wish of the Senate. I may disagree with the motion to appoint any senator President of this Chamber, but if the majority of the Senate think otherwise, then I must bow to the wishes of the Senate. Taking it all in all, I think that it is better that responsibility should rest in one person - in this case the President. If he is not fit to control our officers, then he is not fitto be President of the Senate. Another point that has been raised is that we should hand over control ofour officers to the Public Service Commissioner or Board.
– The Bill, without the series of amendments which I have submitted, will place the officers of Parliament, as officers of the general Public Service, under the control of the Public Service Commissioner or Board.
-That is what I am coming to. I must confess that this long series of amendments puzzles me slightly.
– My amendments seek to give effect to what I conceive to be the desire of the Senate as well as my own convictions, namely, that Parliament should control its own staff.
– I have here a copy of a recommendation, addressed to the Prime Minister and signed by Senator Givens, President of the Senate, and Sir Elliot Johnson, Speaker of the House of Representatives, which, I think, does not convey that impression. This document; states -
We strongly recommend to theGovernment to include in the new Bill provisions making the officers and servants of Parliament subject to classification by the Public Service Commissioner, and for the amount of salary appropriate for each position to be fixed by him; but that in all other respects the officers of Parliament should remain under the control of the President and Speaker as at present.
Do Senator Givens’ amendments alter the position ?
SenatorGivens. -no.If the honorable senator will carefully peruse the amendments, he will see that it is not intended to do that.
– Then the posi- tion is as set outinthe letter.
-Under the existing Act the President and Mr. Speaker could approach the Public Service Commissioner, and ask him to classify the officers of Parliament; but the question of salaries would not arise, because the classification would indicate the salaries. Mr. Speaker and myself might come to the conclusion that it was necessary that there should be some coordination between the officers of the various Departments instead of one Department endeavouring to gain some advantage over another, as has frequently occurred.
– If the officers of Parliament were classified by the Public Service Commissioner, an outside authority would ibe interfering. Some time ago I thought if desirable for the Public Service Commissioner to control the officers of Parliament; but in view of a speech delivered by the President (Senator Givens) some time ago, when it was suggested that certain persons were about to investigate the work of Parliament and examine its officers, he strongly opposed the idea of any interference by an outside authority. The President then said that if we allowed that it would be an interference with our. privileges, and derogatory to the dignity of the Senate. He also said that it was the duty of the Senate to definitely instruct him in the matter, and we now have to decide whether any outside authority shall have the right to dictate as to the procedure to be adapted in connexion with the work of Parliament.’ If we allow the Eoard to classify the officers of Parliament, we allow an outside authority to interfere. We should either exclude the Board entirely or give it full authority.
– That does not arise in connexion with this amendment. If sub-clause 5 does not provide what the honorable senator desires he can move to leave it out.
– Sub-clause 5 reads -
The classification of officers of the Parliament shall he made by the President or the Speaker or by the ‘President andthe Speaker, as the case may toe:
Provided that if the President or the Speaker or the President and the Speaker (as the case maybe), by writing addressed to the chairman of the Board, requests the Board to classifyanyofficersoftheParliament,the Boardshallclassifythoseofficersintheman- nerprovidedintheAct.
If that amendment is carried the Board will not classify the officers of Parliament unless requested to do so by the Presiding Officers.
– The Board cannot do that without being requested to do sp; and that is similar to the provision in the present Act.
– Then I have no objection to the amendment.
– Order? The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I shall endeavour to clear up one or two points which appear to be hampering honorable senators. The personal element introduced into the debate is to be Tegretted, and I do not propose to add in the slightest to the comments made in that direction. I agree with Senator Thomas that if the President of the Senate is not a fit and proper person to be intrusted with appointments in connexion with this branch of the Legislature, he is not a fit and proper person to act as its Presiding Officer, and should be removed from office by the Senate. If we analyze the proposals of Senator Givens, it will be found that the President or the Speaker, or the President and the Speaker, are to be substituted for the Board to be appointed. A good deal of discussion took place concerning the constitution of the Board, which is to consist of three members, and it will have the power to delegate to any one member all the powers which are conferred upon the three. That was necessary, because the Board will have to deal with officers spread over a vast continent ; and if the members of that body were to remain in one centre it would be impossible for them to carry out their work effectively. That was why the powers of delegation were given. The proposal of Senator Givens is that, instead of the Board controlling the officers of Parliament, the President and the Speaker are to act when dealing with the officers of the two Houses, and the President or the Speaker are to act when dealing with the officers of their respective Houses. We are, therefore, not making a marked departure in the matter of control when compared with the procedure to be adoptedinconnexionwiththePublic Service.TheproposalofSenatordo
Largie, if I understand it correctly, is to substitute the HouseCommittee for the Speaker and President, as the case may be; and, judging from an interjection which the honorable senator made when you, Mr. Chairman, were explaining the position, he meant that the Joint House Committee should have control.
– That is so.
– I must endeavour to make the position quite clear to the Committee. In the Journals of the Senate of 3rd March, 1920, it is recorded that the Minister for’ Repatriation (Senator E. D. Millen), pursuant to notice, moved -
That a House Committee be appointed to consist of the President, Senators Bakhap, Guy, Lieutenant-Colonel O’Loughlin, Needham, and Colonel Rowell, with power to act during the recess and to confer or sit as a Joint Committee with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives.
My interpretation of that is that the House Committee would have power to act independently, if necessary, and, in regard to other matters, to sit as a Joint Committee with a similar Committee of another place. I understand that the amendment submitted by Senator de Largie refers to the Senate House Committee; but my interpretation is, of course, subject to the decision of the Committee, and ultimately to the decision of the Presiding Officer of this Chamber. But I do not, having regard to the verbiage of the amendment, take it as conferring a power on a Joint House Committee. TheJournals of the Senate make it appear that there can be, and is, indeed, a separate House Committee of the Senate.
– Then the position is more complicated than before. I think the proposal of Senator de Largie is that the Joint House Committee shall control the officers of Parliament. If that is not the proposal, the position would be ridiculous. If we incorporate in the Bill a provision that the Senate House Committee shall control the Senate officials, and the officials of another place shall be controlled in an entirely different way, there can be no control at all over officials working in both branches of the Legislature.
– Is there not another House Committee?
– There is. I believe Senator de Largie moved his amendment on the assumption that what he desired was covered by his amendment.
– I think it is.
– According to the ruling of the Chairman, it is not. We have, therefore, reached an absurd position. Senator Wilson favoured the President and the House Committee controlling the officers of Parliament, and suggested that during the absence of honorable senators fromMelbourne the President should exercise all the powers and functions of the Committee. It waa pointed out that there were long periods when the Parliament was in recess, and that it would be impossible for a House Committee or any Committee of Parliament to control the officers of Parliament. Senator Wilson suggested that during a recess the President should have control. If the amendment moved by Senator de Largie is accepted, it will not accomplish what Senator Wilson desires, in view of the statement which has just been made by the Chairman. No one but the Committee could carry out the functions of the Board.
– Can we give the President the same powers as are to be given to the Board?
– We are making no provision in that direction. I am endeavouring to show that we cannot accomplish what Senator Wilson desires, and that Senator de Largie cannot do what he wishes by his amendment.
– Will the honorable senator say why my amendment, if carried, would not achieve the result I desire ?
– I quite understand what the honorable senator wants, but the Chairman has made it clear that his amendment will not achieve his object. I understand that, if he succeeds with this amendment, he intends to go further and include the Library Committee. The House and Library Committees, in fact and in practice, are undoubtedly joint Committees. Some time ago there was a Select Committee appointed by the Senate to inquire into the question of alleged grievances, and also into the question of the control of the servants of Parliament. The Committee recommended, amongst other things, that Parliament should retain control of its own. servants. If this Bill goes through in its present form, Parliament will be giving up control of its own servants. If the provisions suggested by the President, or some similar provisions, are not inserted, the control toy Parliament of its servants will entirely disappear.
– Under what law have those officers been classified as Commonwealth public servants?
– There is a special reference to them in the old Act, and, if we do not specially exempt them, they come under the Act as a matter of course.
-There was no classification pf parliamentary officers under the old Act.
– That is so. The new clause gives effect to (the recommendations of the Select Committee, and there is very little difference of opinion on the question of whether Parliament should control its own officers. There is some division of opinion as to how that control should be exercised. I prefer the old method, and I agree that if the President is not fit to exercise this power, he should not occupy his position. Even though we adopt the proposals of Senator Givens, all the servants of the Senate, and of Parliament generally, will come under the Public Service regulations automatically; but it is provided in sub-clause 2 that the President or the Speaker or the President and the Speaker may make regulations, which, if they are in conflict with those made by the Public Service Commissioner, shall prevail.
– The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– The remarks of Senator Drake- Brockman have cleared the air considerably. I agree with his main point, that without some such provisions as are proposed in the new clause, the Bill will apply to every officer of Parliament in the same way as it applies to public servants generally. I propose to deal with the amendment of Senator de Largie in an absolutely impersonal manner, because I do not want anything
I may say to be regarded as a reflection on the President. The jurisdiction of the House Committee, as exercised under the present system, is a perfect farce. As a matter of fact, it has no jurisdiction or functions whatever, unless they are of the rubber stamp variety. I imagine that the Senate had an idea, when it appointed a House Committee, that that Committee would be worthy of the name. Questions of the appointment and promotion of officers of the Senate should surely come within the purview of the House Committee, but the proposal is that such matters shall be left to the President, who need not consult the House Committee at all. That means giving autocratic power to the President, and, in the case of the House of Representatives, to the Speaker, to determine who shall be officers of the Parliament. If the amendment of Senator de Largie does not confer any such power on the House Committee, it should’ be made to do so. This would obviate friction in the future, and would prevent any imputation being levelled at the President that he had acted unfairly.
– What do you suggest ?
– I think the power sought by the honorable senator’s amendment will have to be given by way of regulations. As the President is already a member of the House Committee, it is not necessary to mention him in the amendment.
– That is quite right. If Senator de Largie’s amendment is to be given effect to, the name of the President of the Senate should be struck out.
-That is clear. I am discussing the Bill as though I were totally ignorant of what has transpired.
– The question before us, I understand, is an amendment by Senator de Largie that we take certain action which will result in a big departure from past procedure. We are led to believe that in some way or other officers of this Senate have been suffering injustices and grievances. During the fifteen years I have been a member of the Senate, I have had but one appeal made to me by an officer, who supposed he was labouring under a grievance, and I was unable to approve of what lie had to say, and declined to hear him further. It is not only the President, as the mouthpiece of this Senate, who is responsible for any wrongful act towards an officer of the Senate, but every senator is also responsible. If an officer has a just grievance he may go to the public press, as well as approach members of the Senate, so, if there is any manifest injustice done, there is always a chance of the matter finding an echo in this Chamber.
– The honorable senator has just stated that he refused to hear an officer.
– I did, because I knew he was asking for something less than eight hours a day, and I was not prepared to give it to him. I said, “ You look to me for less than eight hours’ work a day. You can hardly be said to work when compared with the man outside who has to pay the taxes which keep you.” I am driven to the conclusion that I must be a very curious make-up of a nian when I cannot be approached by a person who desires to plead his case. I am so hard of heart, I suppose, that I will not listen to a plea for justice ! Let me say that the officers of this Parliament are in a very good and a vary snug position. I want to see them justly treated, and want to see them appreciate it, as I feel they do. I am trying to treat this matter seriously, and to discover what sort of a man I can be that I should not have been approached in the past. The amendment is intended to superimpose the House Committee on the existing tribunal for the settlement of these questions. The idea behind it is that individual justice is a failure, and that collective justice is likely to be more satisfactory. The contention appears to be that we cannot select from amongst ourselves a man possessing sufficient intelligence, integrity, and impartiality to do the fair thing. It is a confesson that we have failed in our duty.
– Or else that we have not such a man amongst us.
– Yes. As L on one occasion, put what appeared to me to be a very fair request before the present occupant of the position of President, and he refused it, I might be disposed, if I were prepared to deal with this question on personal grounds, to back up any proposal, such as the amendment, which would deprive this man of some of his power. But I came to see, on reasoning the matter out, that if the President had acceded to my request, it would have opened the door so widely that it would have become impossible for this Chamber to preserve its status and its dignity. I still have faith in individual justice. I can recall the fact that exception has been taken from time to time to many decisions arrived at by Committees, and some of the shivering members have said, “ It is not -my fault ; it was the Committee.” It is always the other fellow who has done it. In my opinion ttc should saddle responsibility on one man.
– The honorable senator is not proposing to do that in the case of officers outside the service of Parliament?
– That brings me to the question of the Appeal Board. We are told that the House Committee will represent a Caesar from whom there will be no appeal. That is not correct, or in accordance with our past experience. I remember that the Printing Committee on one occasion brought up a report, and the Senate said to the Committee, “You have not done your work properly, and we shall review your report.” The Joint Printing Committee was not a Caesar om that occasion. Senators Foster and de Largie have suggested that the House Committee, with the President, will constitute an Appeal Board, from which there will be no appeal. The experience of the past is against that contention.
– The honorable senator has assisted to set up an Appeal Board for the general Public Service. Why did he not object to that?
– We have been invited to believe that by accepting the amendment we shall at last reach a secure haven, and that officers of the Parliament coming before the House Committee .will be enabled to have their grievances rectified. I am trying to point out that the adoption of that course would not give us finality, judging by past experience.
– The honorable senator! was one of those who, in discussing this Bill, expressed himself against appeals from Caesar to Caesar, yet he is contending that that is good enough for officers of Parliament.
– The honorable senator is travelling in a circle, and ending where he began, or a little behind it.
– Then the honorable senator has done the same thing in dealing with the general Public Service.
– I have not.
– Does not Parliament remain the supreme; authority; and will it not be above the Public Service Appeal Board?
– - I again repeat that whether the settlement of these matters is left in the hands of one mon, or in the hands of a Committee, including that man, we shall not, judging by the experience of the past, secure finality.
– We have not finality now according to the* honorable senator’s argument.
– That is what I say, and the amendment would carry us no further. Some honorable members will recollect that on one occasion when a report was submitted fey the Joint Printing Committee Senator Stewart protested in this Chamber, and the report of the Committee wad superseded. Senator Drake-Brockman has properly said that there are three sections of Parliament. There is the Senate, the House of Representatives, and a neutral zone, under the Joint Committees composed of members of both Houses.
– How does my amendment fail to solve the problem? Can the honorable senator suggest anything that should be added to it?
– I refuse to travel around in a circle and end where I began. I do not believe in supporting an amendment unless it is clear to me that it will bring about some tangible improvement. I have already said that if I were influenced in the matter one way or another by feeling I should be disposed to relieve the present occupant of the position of President of responsibility, but I hope that the ‘Committee will stand to the maxim that ‘‘behind law’s decision stands the man.” Give ‘a man a job, and hold him responsible for it, and if he fails in his trust put him out! Senator Senior would put upon a dozen men the responsibility for what ought to be one man’s job. I am against that.
– There seems to be an impression that yesterday I advocated giving power in these matters to individual members of the. House Committee. Nothing was further from my mind. What I desired, and what I advocate to-day, is that the control of the parliamentary staff should be placed in the hands of the Joint House Committee. The Chairman of the Committee would, of course, be the President, and he could make regular reports to meetings of the Committee. I never suggested, for one moment, that an individual member of the House Committee should have the right to interfere with the administration. If honorable senators are asked to accept positions on the Joint House Committee, I desire that they should be clothed with such responsibility as will make the position worthy of their time and attention. If the President, whoever he might be, did something which gave rise to complaint, he could submit his report to the House Committee, and it would be for the Committee to decide whether or not he had done wrong, and to make its report to the Senate. To suggest that every little grievance of an officer of this House should be a matter for decision by the Senate is, in my opinion, absolutely ridiculous. Senator Drake-Brockman has said that he does not think the amendment would be any improvement’ upon the existing condition of affairs.
– He has not suggested anything better.
– In my opinion the only question is as to whether the amendment would be effective. I understand that members of the Joint House Committee are nominated by the Government.
– That is so, but their nomination must be approved by Parliament.
S’enator WILSON. - The nomination of honorable senators to the Committee must be indorsed by the Senate, but the mem. bers of the Committee are not selected by the Senate.
– They may be.
– The names of honorable senators are submitted by the Government.
– At a party meeting.
– Then how was my name submitted for appointment to the Committee? I was not at a party meet- ing. The names are suggested by the Government, and for all I know by the President.
– I suppose that the honorable senator was asked whether he would act on the Committee.
– No; I was not.
– They picked a good man.
– That is so. The Senate is asked to indorse the nomination of members to these Committees, but I admit that honorable senators have a right to select members of the Committees.
– The appointment of the Committee is regardedas a purely formal motion.
– I have never heard an objection to nominations for the Joint House Committee in an experience of fifteen years.
– Perhaps the senators concerned were like myself, and did not know anything about the matter until they were elected. Senator DrakeBrockman has clearly stated the position. Certainly I think we should have a change.He has forcibly said that the House Committee is a concern put up to be shot at, with very few powers, or, at least, with insufficient powers. Any honorable senator is wasting his time on such a Committee. Too much of the personal element has been brought into this discussion. If Parliament gives the powers asked for to the President, he will be responsible, but I think they should be given to the House Committee in the form I suggest. That would hot fully meet my desire, but it would go a long way in that direction. The President would then be in the position of a managing director, who would submit his reports to the Committee, and any difficulties would be settled by the Committee, instead of being forced on to the floor of the Chamber. Suppose one of the employees had to be disposed of, and the President, justly or otherwise, gave him his “walking ticket.” That action might represent the honest opinion and judgment of the President for the time being, but he might have acted wrongly. Senator Lynch puts forward the suggestion that the Senate, in those circumstances, should put the President out of his job. That, would-betooex- tremearemedy.
– The honorable senator presupposes the President to be a tyrant.
– I presuppose every man to be human.
– How is the officer to be heard?
– How can the officer be heard in the Senate?
– That is not an answer to Senator de Largie’s question. The answer is that he can be heard by the House Committee. If a complaint is lodged against a man, an opportunity should be given to him to make his defence.
– I do not think’ there will be any difficulty. My experience, as far as it has gone, tells me that with a Joint House Committee consisting of seven or eight members from each House there would be a lot of political “ engineering “ whenever a case had to be decided. It is only recently that a certain thing was done which was advantageous to those who find the money for running the concern; political “ engineering “ was started, and the whips were cracked. I heard that some members said they would not proceed any farther unless they got their own way. The Committee is too big and too cumbersome. I am not going to be a party to voting for anything that will take the responsibility of administration from the President, but I do want the President to be answerable to the House Committee, as the executive head. I am not going to advocate that individual members of the Committee should have a right of intervention. They can only have that right through the medium of a properly constituted House Committee, to which the President presents a report. I want it to be distinctly understood that I am not going to be a party to getting away from the principle of having only one administrative head, but I want him to be answerable to the House Committee, and the House Committee to be answerable to the Senate.
– I cannot anticipate the vote that is to be taken on this question, but apparently Senator de Largie’s amendment will bedefeated. That willi bring theCommitteebackthequestionof whether the Bill shall remain as it stands, or be amended in the direction proposed by Senator Givens. In view of the statements that have been made by honorable senators, and of the memorandum I have read, the amendment now submitted by Senator Givens appears to be quite opposed to some of the statements he has made.
– The President or the Speaker, or the President and the Speaker, as the case may be, in exercising their powers of administration, will be subject to the principles of the Public Service Act.
– On the 17th March, 1920, the question of whether employees of Parliament were being sweated was discussed in the Senate. The President contended that they were not being sweated, but he said -
In order that allegations of that kind may not persist, I have made up my mind to recommend to the Government that the employees of Parliament shall be placed under the Public Service Commissioner. We shall then have no complaints, or if we do have complaints, those who make them can be transferred to other Departments and other men sent here.
Following that up, on the 3rd June the President and Mr. Speaker signed the following recommendation : -
We strongly recommend to the Government to include in the new Bill provisions making the officers and servants of Parliament subject to classification by the Public Service Commissioner, and for the amount of salary ap-, propriate for each position to be fixed by him; but that in all other respects the officers of Parliament should remain under the control of the President and Speaker, as at present.
That recommendation was made to Parliament in the light of several years’ experience, which made it plain that something of the kind mustbe done if the continual political interference and agitation on behalf of officers was to be avoided. The President and the Speaker recommended to the Government that, in order to stop political agitation, the classification and salaries of the officers of Parliament should be fixed by the Public Service Commissioner. That is a definite statement. It is not an instance in which the President may have been speaking heatedly, in reply to arguments on the floor of the Chamber, and saying things which he might regret afterwards. It is a statement in black and white, that was written deliberately. I shall vote againstSenatordeLargie’samend- ment. We shall then come to the question of whether the President, the Senate, the House Committee, or the Public Service Commissioner shall have control. When we come to vote on the principle as to who shall have full control, some explanation ought to be given of why the President has gone back on the recommendation which he signed in conjunction with the Speaker. It looks as if the Bill now before the Committee is an attempt to carry’ out that recommendation.
– Not one of the honorable senators who have spoken has pointed out a better way of meeting the proposition than that proposed in my amendment. I stated very clearly, and I think it is the view of a number of honorable senators, that tha House Committee ought to have control in matters of this kind. I have yet to hear one sound argument against that proposition. I pointed out that, originally, the House Committee undoubtedly exercised these powers, but that in the course of years, and by the change of Presidents, the power had gradually been withdrawn from the Committee in such a way that the withdrawal was not observed by honorable senators. If the Senate had been composed of the same members all the time they would have seen quite clearly where and when the change took place. I have given my experience of the first and second, at least, of these House Committees, and have stated what was the practice in those days. My present proposal is to put into the Public Service Act a. provision that the House Committee of the Senate shall have the power now held by the Presiding Officer to control officers of the Senate. And if it is agreed to, I shall submit other amendments, making the same principle applicable to all officers of Parliament. That will bring this clause of the Bill into conformity with other parts of it. We have provided Boards of Appeal and Boards of Inquiry for other sections of the Public Service, and it will be a very one-sided Act if the same provision is not made for officers of Parliament. Officers of the Post Office, the Customs Department, and other Departments under the Federal Government are safeguarded,andtheCommittee ought not to refuse to provide a means, of appealor inquiry for officers of the Parliament. Parliament is a public Department, and the officers who are sitting at the table in this Chamber, or are doing work outside it - no matter how humble or exalted their duties may be - are carrying out a public function, and are entitled to the same privileges that we have given to the public servant generally. Why should not affairs connected with the staff of Parliament, which spends public money, and in which the taxpayers are interested, be made known? Why should the President, who is the one man that administers the affairs of this branch of the Parliament, be above criticism ? Criticism somewhat of a personal nature is all the more necessary in view of the fact that the President is the only man who has a say. No others are permitted to be heard. I wish to remove this personal element in administration as much as possible, and allow the members of the House Committee to share this responsibility. Are honorable senators aware that since the Public Service Act has been in force there has never been a report, as provided for in the Act, in connexion with the administration of the parliamentary Departments? If honorable senators ask for an explanation as to what was done last year or the year before, they have no report to guide them, and no information is vouchsafed as to who classifies the officers. Where is the classification scheme that is provided for in connexion with all other Departments of the Public Service? It is non-existent. There has never been any classification of our parliamentary officers. It may be said that we have at the head of affairs a man who is prepared to look after our officers. I dispute that. I deny that the President is looking after the rights of our. officers. I could revealglaring cases in which favoritism has been shown. I could show that men, after twenty years’ service, have been kept back from promotion and others from outside promoted over their heads. I do not wish honorable senators to run away with the idea that the Denholm affair is the only case of injustice that has occurred in connexion with the administration of the parliamentary Departments. There are many others. I could, if I wished, quoteacaseinconnexionwithHansard, butIhavenodesiretodoso.Allof ourparliamentary officers are as much entitled to have their rights preserved to them as are officers in any other Department of the Public Service. In the early days of Federation we used to hear a good deal about the preservation in the Constitution of the rights and privileges of officers transferred from the State to the Federal Public Service. Every officer in the Service, from the humblest to the most important, should have all his rights and privileges safeguarded. What happens at present if any officer of Parliament complains of his treatment ? He is black-balled, boycotted, and dismissed. Our officers are afraid to express an opinion as to their treatment or to stand up for their rights. There is no one to’ whom they can appeal. I am certainly not going to have my name associated with any measure that will permit tyranny of this kind to continue.
– Do you say that our officers have not had justice meted out to them?
– I do, and I am prepared to prove what I say. What kind of treatment was meted out to a man who insisted upon getting the legal wage provided for under the Arbitration Act, and the wage that was being paid outside? Honorable senators should read the evidence given before the Select Committee of the Senate in regard to these matters. Because he stood up like a man, this employee was not only dismissed, but was insulted on the floor of this Chamber, where he could not speak for himself. He asked for the right of appeal to the House Committee, and that was refused to him. He asked again to be allowed to put his case before the Select Committee, and that also was refused.
– Was not his conduct reported upon by the head of the Department ?
– I know where that report came from. I am not blind to what has been going on. Senator Lynch’ s experience of trade union matters should satisfy him as to how these things are done. I question very much whether the honorable senator read the evidence given before the Select Committee.
– The honorable senator is wrong. The newspapers did not report the proceedings of the Select Committee. The press were not given the opportunity to be present at our meetings, nor did they report the proceedings. I am sorry that the personal element has been introduced into this debate; but I was not responsible. I very carefully avoided any personal references in my early remarks. Senator Givens introduced the personal aspect, and, as I was singled out for special attention, I would be something less than a man if, in the circumstances, I did not defend myself. I feel that my personal honour is now involved, and I am going to clear the matter up thoroughly. It is my intention to read some of the evidence that was given before the Senate Select Committee, in order to show the character of the man we have as President of the Senate. Senator Givens said that if he had adopted a certain course in regard to an appointment, it would, in effect, have been my appointment, and not his; the inference being, of course, that I was improperly using my position as a senator for personal ends. I deny that absolutely. I did recommend a certain individual, who was an applicant for appointment to the Hansard Staff, but he did not get the position, and I did not mention his name again - that happened six or seven years ago. I realized perfectly well that the man who received the appointment was better qualified than the individual whom I had recommended. I was quite satisfied, and had nothing further to say about the matter. Senator Givens talks about the improper use of political influence, and on one occasion he delivered a lecture to me on the conduct of a member of this Chamber. What did he do when I tabled a motion for the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into certain aspects of his administration,? He went around buttonholing members to vote against my motion, thus endeavouring to prevent an inquiry being held. Then he talks about the dignity of the Senate !
SenatorRowell. - Whom did he buttonhole?
– Hebuttonholed several members of the Senate.
SenatorRowell.-Hedidnotbutton- hole me, at any rate.
– Oh, well, the honorable senator is so often in his company.
– You are dragging in personalities now.
– I have no desire to do so; but honorable senators should not intervene in that way and invite personal replies. Now, on the question of political influence, I should like, for the information of honorable senators, to quote from evidence given by Senator Givens before the Select Committee on 27th October, 1920. He was asked -
Have you any reason to thinkthat Parliament has changed its mind upon that matter?
This referred to the decision of Parliament to retain control of its officers. Senator Givens’ reply was -
That cannot be decided untilthe matter has been submitted to Parliament. Mr. Speaker and myself made that recommendation in the light of several years of experience, which showed us conclusively that if political influence and agitation was to be avoided, something of that kind would have to be done. What we recommended would not have interfered at all with the control by Parliament of the officers of Parliament, except with regard to classification and the fixation of the salaries appropriate to the various positions. Our recommendation was that in every other respect the President and Speaker should remain in absolute control as at present. My experience in regard to political influence proposed to be exercised has been a very long and bitter one.
There is no doubting the meaning of that statement. This is another extract from the evidence given by Senator Givens -
Have you had a good deal of political influence brought to bear on you? - It has been attempted to be brought to bear on me.
Did you give way to any of it? - No.
Was it very severe? - Sometimes. For instance, in connexion with the last appointment made here fully twenty members of Parliament interviewed me, and tried to influence me with regard to particular candidates whom they favoured.
– The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I feel that I must abandon my support of the amendment submitted by Senator de Largie, for this reason : I want, as I have endeavoured to show, to get some Court of appeal for the servants of Parliament from any decision or judgment of the Presiding Officerwhichintheiroption, mayaffectthem prejudicially.ButSena- tor Wilson has convinced me that if eight or ten members of a Committee were open to be approached by appellants in regard o to appointment or promotion the position would be very much worse than at present. I shall, therefore, abandon my support of the amendment, and will endeavour, under clause 53, which deals’ with the Appeal Board, to see that the same principle is applied to officers of the Parliament.
– Then you would rob them of their right of “appeal to Parliament ‘? ‘
– I do not wish to do anything of the kind. An appeal to Parliament can only be brought about by some member, and it is impossible to prevent any member from taking any such action if he feels that he has something to bring before the Parliament. It is rather unbecoming to the dignity of this Chamber that minor matters should be brought up here, and that the time of the Senate, which is alleged to be worth something, should be wasted for hours in discussing them.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2. SO y.m.
– I desire to complete my quotations from the evidence ‘tendered by the President before the Select Committee on Senate officials. I purposely entered into a certain phase of the; inquiry to expose the inaccuracy of statements which I was informed had been circulated amongst honorable senators by the President. If I had been afraid of any disclosure I would not have pursued such a policy. As a fact I had to submit about ten questions before I reached the point where he said that there were twenty honorable senators - of whom I was not one, although he said yesterday that I was - who had endeavoured to influence him. I shall not quote the evidence up to the point where I dragged an answer from him, and I assure the Committee that it had to be “ dragged.” The evidence reads -
How many years is it since the case in point happened ? - Do you mean the first or the last occasion?
The occasion when I asked you, as the President of the Senate, in making recommendations, to give a fair deal to a certain applicant where two new appointments were being made to Barnard. How many years ago is that? - Six or six and a-half years ago, or thereabouts.
I think the Committee will see that if I had been ashamed of anything I would not have persisted with my inquiry. That incident happened many years ago, and I think I can prove that during that interval, so far as I know, Senator Givens and I were always on the most friendly terms. On frequent occasions I was invited into his room, and on other occasions I had to go to his room in connexion with various matters associated with my duties as Government Whip. On several occa- * sions I consulted him, and recommended men for positions; and Senator Givens will remember that I mentioned the name of an old friend of his from Western Australia. I did not think I was doing any harm, and he certainly did not suggest that I was; Ave thought we were acting in a fair and proper manner. I have assisted the President on many occasions, and have done things which I would not have done had I been biased against him. I recollect an occasion when I assisted him out of a very serious difficulty, when, owing to his action, this branch, of the Legislature was in danger of being placed in a very false position. During the visit of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to Australia, in consequence of a squabble between the President and Mr. Speaker the Senate adjourned before deciding to present an address to the Prince. The Senate was not to blame; the squabble arose between the Presiding Officers as to who should have the honour of presenting the address.
– This has nothing to do with the amendment.
– I am endeavouring to show that there was no illfeeling of any kind existing between us.
– But that is all over.
– I trust the Minister (Senator Russell) will allow me to proceed with my story, and to present the actual facts to the Senate, because my honour has been impugned by Senator Givens. The Senate adjourned on a Friday over the following week, and between the date of adjournment and that of re-assembling a banquet was to be tendered to the Prince in the Queen’s Hall. On the”5 Wednesday following, after the Senate had adjourned, the House of Representatives agreed to present an address. On the Saturday morning I visited the building, and was informed by the President’s messenger that the President wished to see me. I saw him, and he informed me of the position, which had been mentioned in the press that morning. The President then said to me, “Here is a letter I am drafting to the press explaining the position.” He further said - “I am going to give Johnson a showing up. I know why he is doing this.
He wants a title, and is prepared to-
– Order! The honorable senator is not in order in pursuing that line of argument.
– Surely that was a private conversation?
– No; this is a public question. I have a right to make these facts known. I helped the President out of a difficulty by suggesting that the Senate should be summoned to meet on the Wednesday, when an address could be presented, and that was done. The Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator E. D. Millen) agreed to the proposal, and the Senate was saved from being placed in the humiliating position
– I protest against a discussion of this character.
– I am merely showing that there was no animosity between us.
– If private conversations of that character are to be repeated, no one will be safe.
– Private conversations have been repeated and dragged on to the floor of the Senate by Senator Givens in his charge of political influence against me. I am fighting him with the weapons he has chosen. It was not untii I moved for the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the position of Senate officials that any difference of opinion between us arose. The President did everything possible to burke that inquiry, and these facts should be disclosed, so that honorable senators may realize the type of man with whom we have to deal. It will be a cruel shame if the officers of this branch of the Legislature are to be deprived df a Board of appeal. We should protect them, as has been done in other instances, instead of leaving the heads of Departments to do as they wish. If the Committee do not support my amendment, they will have to take the responsibility.I have discharged my duty, and have shown the necessity for the amendment. Any one who is familiar with what has been going on in connexion with the appointment and promotion of Senate officials must recognise that these officers should have some Court of appeal. In the past, and at the present time, they have no such privilege. When they have asked for the opportunity of appearing before the House Committee, they have been prevented, and when some desired to appear before the Select Committee they were refused, and finally dismissed, merelybecause they stood up for their rights as men. I do not apologize for the attitude I have adopted. My honour has been impugned by Senator Givens, who has indulged in personalities, and made false charges against me. I have a right to defend myself, and shall at all times do so.
.- The Chairman of Committees (Senator Bakhap) explained that the House Committee appointed by the Senate is distinct from the House Committee appointed by another Chamber, and that wo are dealing with the House Committee of the Senate in connexion with this amendment. If that is so, I would like to ask if the House Committee of the Senate has ever been called upon to transact business on its own account?
– Then that is the difficulty confronting us. Senator Wilson, who is a member of the House Committee, desires to place certain responsibilities upon the House Committee of the Senate, and if we do that we shall have no power to compel the House Committee appointed by another Chamber to act as we desire.
– Certainly not. They are all joint Committees.
– That shows the muddle into which we are drifting.
– The Senate House Committee is appointed under the Standing Orders. Simply because it has not functioned as a distinct Committee does not affect the power it possesses.
– I do mot accept the statement of Senator Givens that it has not met as a separate Committee.
– Senator Wilson said that the Senate House Committee had no power whatever, and that its members were mere ciphers. If we ave to give the Committee pover to deal with Senate officials when it sits only in conjunction with the House Committee of the House of Representatives, we will be creating a chaotic position.
– What (does the honorable senator suggest?
– I was not suggesting anything, but looking for information.
– Surely the honorable senator does not suggest that it cannot meet as a distinct Committee?
– We have been informed that it has not so met.
– I think I can remember occasions on which it has.
– What are the powers of a House Committee, and what are its duties ?
– It has control of work in and around the building, including the Queen’s Hall, and is appointed to manage those portions of the building which are common to both Houses, and could not be under the control of one branch of the Legislature.
– Then the House1 Committee has nothing to do with the officers ?
– No. Executive powers have been given to the President and the Speaker in that regard.
– My experience is that it is best for all concerned to let one official be responsible for the appointment of the officers, and carry the burden. I do not desire to see any injustice done to the officers, but I cannot support Senator de Largie’s amendment.
– Sub-clause 2 of the proposed new clause, briefly, provides that any action to be taken by the Board under the Act with regard to the Public Service may be taken with regard to the Departments of Parliament by the President or Speaker, or by both, as the case may be; and any action required to be taKen by the permanent head or chief officer of a Department outside may be taken by the permanent head of a parlia mentary Department. This really makes no alteration in the practice which at present obtains. Sub-clause 3 is a new provision, but it is necessitated by the wording of the present Bill. It provides that any reference to “ the Minister “ shall be read as a reference to the President, or Speaker, or to both, as the case may be, so far as officers of Parliament are concerned. Sub-clause 4 merely constitutes several branches of the parliamentary service separate Departments under the Bill, just as the Bill itself provides for separate Departments in the Public Service generally. This sub-clause is merely consequential on the others.
– Under the present Act, it is possible for an officer to be transferred from one Department to another. Will interchange of officers be possible under these new provisions*
– Yes. Under the present Act, changes have been made from one Department to another.
– If it were thought that an officer on the Hansard staff was suitable for appointment as a Clerk of Parliament, would there be anything to prevent him from being so appointed ?
– Then a librarian or any other officer would be eligible for any appointment?
– They are all eligible. On sub-clause 5 there has been some discussion. It provides, as drafted, for a classification of the parliamentary officers by the President and the Speaker. There is a further provision to the. effect that if the President and Speaker so desire, they may request the Public Service Board to classify any officers of Parliament. I may ;briefly explain that there has always been a tendency in this’ Chamber -to play off one Department against another, thereby creating anomalies, and allowing one officer to get ahead of another officer in another Department. It has been exceedingly difficult to combat that. So far as I have been able to ascertain, every succeeding President and Speaker have met with that difficulty, and it has not made for good feeling amongst the officers of Parliament. In the view of Mr. Speaker and myself, it would be advantageous to have a classification. There would be salaries appropriate to the classification but the question of salaries need not be considered in this matter. The sub-clause distinctly states that the President and Speaker may classify, and, if in difficulties, they may call the Public Service Board to their assistance. I think that is reasonable, because it must be evident that a new President or Speaker would not necessarily have anything like the experience of the Public Service Board. This proposal would give the President or the Speaker the option of calling in such assistance. So far there has never been a classification of the parliamentary officers by any President or Speaker, nor has the need of it really been felt; but officers receiving salaries appropriate to their particular classification in the Service outside have been regarded as belonging to that classification, with the exception of the heads of Departments, who, of course, have not been classified. The latter are in a different category altogether. There are so few of these officers - their classifications being necessarily peculiar to their particular positions - that the need has never been felt for a classification; but it is possible that such a need may arise, and I think it would be wise to give power to the President and Speaker to call in the assistance of the Board.
– We have been assured, in response to a question by Senator Thomas, that an interchange of officers will be possible between parliamentary and other Departments. If so, I think it would be wise to set it out. It is a sound principle that there should be no close preserve in any particular Department.
– I see no objection to sub-clause 5. The President and Speaker should have the right to take the advice of the Public Service Board, but I cannot see the necessity to provide for it in the Bill. I presume that the President and Speaker would be responsible for the classification. Does 9ub-cla.use 5 mean that they would not take any other advice?
– It is obvious that they could take any advice.
– I do not think the Commissioner has power to do work beyond the scope of the Act.
– I admit that there is no harm in the provision, but I fail to see any necessity for it.
. -I am glad that the matter of classification has been referred to, be cause it is one to which I have repeatedly directed the attention of the Senate. I was beginning to give up hope that anything would ever be done in connexion with it. The provision in the Public Service Act for classification has been allowed to remain a dead letter, and if sub-clause 5 is to be treated in the same way we shall be but wasting our time in agreeing to it. I hope that something in vhe way of classification will be done in the future, as it should tend to’ remove some of the worst anomalies thatexist in connexion with the service of Parliament. Officers of the Hansard Staff have, in vhe past, constituted one watertight department, whilst the officers of the Senate have constituted another. No matter how able an officer of the Hansard Staff might be to fill a position at the Senate table, he could not hope to attain such a position. We have officers on the Hansard Staff who are well qualified to take up the work of a Clerk of Parliament, but because of the recognition of watertight departments and the lack of classification, Parliament has not in the past been able to do justice to all its officers. I hope that it is intended by sub-clause 5 to overcome the difficulty in arranging transfers, and that it will not be allowed to remain a dead letter.
– To put my suggestion in concrete form, I am inclined to move that the following words bo added to sub-clause 5 : “ and arrange for the transfer of officers from other Departments to those Departments mentioned in sub-clause 4 and vice versa.”
– That is already provided for under clauses 48 and 49 of the Bill.
– If I am assured that that is so I shall not press the amendment.
– Clauses 48 and 49 deal with promotions and transfers, but I am not satisfied that they will apply to officers of Parliament unless that is distinctly , stated.
– This matter was fully gone into and the clause under consideration was drafted in conformity with the general provisions of the Bill. I was assured by the Parliamentary Draftsman that all the provisions of the Bill will apply to parliamentary officers, except in so far as they are qualified by the amendments I have proposed. I can assure the honorable senator that clauses 48 and 49 cover completely what he desires to provide for.
– If that be so I am satisfied. Such a provision should obviate some of the friction that has occurred in times past, and should give a wider field of opportunity to parliamentary officers, who have, I think, been somewhat circumscribed in the past.
– Every officer in the Public Service is eligible to apply for any position in the Service that maybe vacant.
– It was considered wise in the past to make special provision for the staff of Parliament, who were not to be treated as ordinary members of the Public Service. We picked them out of the general Public Service, and it appears to me that by sub-clause 5 we shall be thrusting them back again into the general Public Service.
– I only wish to be quite clear that between the two stools officers of Parliament may not fall to the ground.
– What the honorable senator is contending for is fully provided for in the Bill.
– I shall leave the matter at that. I have not had time to look very carefully into it.
– Sub-clause 6 of my proposed new clause deals with the regulations to be made affecting parliamentary officers, and it is on all -fours with the law as at present existing. So far, no fixed regulations have been made with regard to parliamentary officers, but the ordinary Public Service regulations have always been made applicable to them, and in their application the most generous interpretation has been put upon them by the Presiding Officers of Parliament, in the interests of the officers in the service of both Houses.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
Clause 14: -
.- I move-
That after the word “ Board,” third occurring, the words “ or to any other officer “ be inserted.
The object of this amendment is to permit the Board in certain circumstances to delegate certain of its powers. If, for instance, a dispute should take place in connexion with an officer of the postal service at Cairns it would be a waste of time and money to send the Board to Cairns to inquire into the matter, and also a waste of time and money to bring the officer down to Melbourne. The purpose of the amendment is in such a case to enable the Board’ to delegate ‘to any other officer authority to take evidence on commission. The evidence could then be sent to Melbourne for consideration by the Board. The officer to whom the power is delegated will not have the right to give a verdict.
– Would the person to whom the power is delegated be an officer of the Public Service?
– I assume that the best man available would be selected. The Board might select a local police magistrate.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause also consequentially amended and agreed to.
Amendment (by Senator Russell) agreed to -
That in sub-clause (2) the words "Permanent Heads " he left out with aview to insertinlienthereofthewordsofficersof theFirstDivision."
Clause, as further amended, agreed to.
Clause 23 (Permanent heads).
Amendment (bySenator Russell) agreed to -
That the following new sub-clauses be inserted: -
APermanent Head may, in respect of any officers or class of officers of his Department, delegate in writing to an officer all or any of his powers and functions under this Act (except this power of delegation) so that the delegated powers and functionsmay be exercised by the delegate as fully and effectually as by the Permanent Head.
Any delegation under this section shall be revocable at will, and Shall not prevent the exerciseof any power or function by the Permanent Head.
. -Ought not those new sub-clauses to be inserted in the clause dealing with delegation of powers?
– Clause 23 specifically applies to heads of Departments.
– I have tried my best to follow the intricacies of these amendments; but it is impossible to understandwhat the effect of them is when they are rushed through in the way in which they are being dealt with. If the new sub-clauses are inserted under clause 23 they will not be where any one looking through the Act would naturally expect to find them.
– The power in the one case is delegated by the Board, and in the other case by the head of a Department to some one else in the Department.
– By the time we have finished with this Bill it will be very much like a patchwork quilt.
– It is the finest Public Service Bill we have ever had.
– Yes, if properly read; but it is badly put together. It is heterogeneous. I admit its virtues, but I do not admire its arrangement.
Clause, as further amended, agreed to.
Clause 48 -
.- I propose to move an amendment to this clause. It is an important clause, because it is the first of Division 5, which deals with “Promotions and transfers.” It appeared to me when we were previously discussing this clause in Committee that the Committee did not take a sufficiently serious view of it. I objected to the clause remaining in its present form, and I would not have given way so readily had not the Minister (Senator Russell), by interjection, given me to understand that the question had been fully discussed with the Public Service Association, and that the Association was agreeable to the clause remaining in its present form. Briefly, the position is that no opportunity is given to an officer of the Public Service to fill a vacancy in another Department, because in this clause, when a vacancy occurs in any office in other than the First Division, and it isexpedient to fill that vacancy by the promotion of an officer, the chief officer may, subject to the provisions of the Act, “promote an officer of his Department to fill such vacancy.”
– On probation for six months. Any other member of the Service can appeal against the appointment during that period.
– I want briefly to refer the Minister to clause 15 of the Bill, in which the duties of the Board are set out. It will be duty of the Board-
To devise means for effecting economies and. promoting efficiency in the management and working of Departments by -
That clause sets out the basis of the whole of our effort. We are trying, if possible, to provide that the Public Service shall be governed and controlled more effectively than is possible under the present Act. In clause 48, sub-clause 1, it appears that the Departments are being made water-tight.
-Sub-clause 5 is as follows : -
Any promotion made in pursuance of this section shall be provisional, and shall bc notified in the prescribed manner and shall be subject to the right of appeal, in such manner and within such time as are prescribed, by any officer who considers that he is more entitled to promotion for the vacant office than the officer provisionally promoted, on the gTound of-
That appears to me to be a very roundabout way ofdealing with the business. I propose that instead of a chief officer promoting an officer to fill a vacancy the Board shall do it. The Board is brought into existence in order to secure, if possible, the more efficient and economical working of the Departments. If a vacancy occurs in any Department other than the Eirst Division, it appears to me that it is not only possible, but probable, that in another Department there may be a more efficient officer available to fill the vacancy than can be found in the Department in which the vacancy has arisen.
– The officer appointed will be on probation, and an officer in another Department may appeal against the appointment.
– It would simplify the procedure if, when the vacancy occurred, the Board had the power to make the appointment from any branch of the Service, while taking into account the relative efficiency of the applicants. That is the feeling of the Public Service Association, and it is a point of view that appeals to me.
– Does the Association still hold that view ?
– I am assured that it does; otherwise I would not be moving an amendment.
– After conferring with me, the representatives of the Association agreed with me regarding the principles contained in the clause.
– I have not been informed of the views of the Association in writing, but I have the assurance of the secretary of the Association.
– Is it denied that the representatives of the Association had a three hours’ conference with me?
– I thought, when the clause was last before the Committee, that the Minister had committed an error in saying that the Association had abandoned the proposal for an amendment of the clause. Whether they have done so or not is really beside the question. An officer who is appointed to a vacancy, whether provisionally or not, gets the “first leg in.”
– Does the Minister (Senator Russell) say that these appointments will be provisional for a period of six months?
– No. Eor a period up to six months, but long enough to give aggrieved persons an opportunity to appeal.
– Then the provisional appointment may be for two weeks or two months in certain cases.
– I want to get from the Minister a statement of the objections that can reasonably be put forward against my proposal that the Board should have the right to make appointments. The Minister, if he opposes the amendment, ought to be prepared to show that it is inadvisable to give the Board the power asked for, and that some advantage will accrue to the Department and to the public servants if the clause is passed as printed. I desire the Departments to be as efficient as possible, and I want to see public servants, in whatever Department they may be employed, given an equal opportunity to advance according to their qualifications.
– Does the honorable senator not think that the right of appeal in a case of the kind would involve the right of an officer in another Department to apply for the position?
– It would; he would have nobody to defend him.
– Under this Bill, if a vacancy occurs, the chief officer is immediately empowered to fill it temporarily by the appointment of an officer from his particular Department, whereas if the vacancy were advertised in the ordinary way, there might be found in another Department a man infinitely superior in every respect, and he would have a chance of appointment. The fact that a man may be appointed, even provisionally, will make it exceedingly difficult for any appeal to be successful. If the Board had the power of appointment, the officer best qualified for a position, irrespective of the Department in which he might be employed, would have a reasonable chance of securing it. I move -
That the words “ Permanent Head “ he left out, with a view to insert in “lieu thereof the word “ Board.”
– I am rather glad that Senator Payne has raised this question, although I am afraid it is too late now to alter the clause. During the second-reading debate’ I pointed out that it was most unfortunate that this clause should be inserted in the Bill at all, because, whatever may be said to the contrary, the various Departments of the Public Service will, I fear, become absolutely watertight. There is, of course, provision for appeal, but the appellant will have the chief officer of his own Department against him, and will have to depend on’ his own advocacy to support his appeal, whereas, if appointments were made by the Board or the Commissioner, the position would be entirely different. It is possible that if certain positions were advertised there would bo as many as twenty applicants, and the Public Service Commissioner would select the man he thought most suitable, and discuss the position with the head of the Department concerned. Possibly they would both come to the same decision, but if not, then the will of the Public Service Commissioner would prevail. I could quote case after case of officers who, under the present Act, have been transferred from Department to Department; but heads of Departments have always opposed the system. At present the Public Service Commissioner relies upon reports from the Public Service Inspectors in the several States. Under this Bill the heads of Departments will simply strive to secure the appointment of their own nominees, and an ambitious and promising officer in another Department will have no opportunity of appointment to a vacancy higher up in the Service. Suppose a young man at Broken Hill or Cobar appealed against the decision of the head of his Department. In the absence of inspectors, for which there is no provision in the Bill, how would the Board deal’ with that matter?
– The honorable senator has made that assertion about five times, and I have told him there is full power of delegation by the Board in regard to an inquiry.
– If twenty persons in different parts of the Commonwealth’’ apply for a position, and appeal against the decision of the chief officer, the Government will have to appoint a special Board to make the inquiries, whereas under the Act as it stands the inspectors in the various States, knowing the qualifications of the appellants, are able to advise the Public Service Commissioner. I did.’ my best, when this clause was before the Committee, to amend it, but no other honorable senator then appeared prepared to support me, so I did not take the matter to a division. If Senator Payne can succeed where I failed, I shall be very glad, and I shall do all I can to help him, because I regard, this clause ‘as a serious flaw in the Bill. It will make the various Departments of the Public Service watertight. The question -whether Departments in the Senate and the House of Representatives are watertight was raised to-day. In spite of all that has been said to the contrary, I still think they will ,be watertight, and I am afraid the whole of the Departments of the Public Service will be in the same position.
, - Some months ago I heard Senator Thomas say he Was opposed to the present system. I am afraid he has not made himself acquainted with the later views of the Public Service Commissioner on this subject. I cannot accept Senator Payne’s amendment, which would mean that all questions of appointments and promotions in the Service would have to come before the Board sitting in Melbourne. The object of clause 48 is to save a great deal of circumlocution. Sub-clause 6 gives the right of appeal ,to the Board. If an appeal is lodged by, say, a postal official at Geraldton, it would not be proposed to send the Appeal Board to Geraldton, or bring the appellant away from his work. That would be ridiculous. The local postmaster would probably be asked to report to the Board.
– The Board would do the same as a chief officer.
– The chief officer would know more than the Board, the members of which have to deal with public servants all over Australia.
– That might be a disadvantage to those who did not come in close contact with the chief officer.
– The chief officers have a better knowledge of the capabilities of public servants than the individual members of the Board. Mr. McLachlan in his report said -
The provisions of the Ian requiring a report from the permanent head or chief officer, recommendation by the Commissioner, and approval by the Governor-General were designed, no doubt, as safeguards against unfair discrimination in the selection of officers for promotion, but in the application of those provisions successive delays have occurred in filling vacant positions, and consequent expense and inconvenience to Departments because of the necessity of making temporary arrangements pending the permanent promotion of officers. It is not unusual for months to elapse between the notification of a vacancy and the filling of the position, and in cases where the vacant office is in the higher grades of the Service, the consequential changes following upon the initial promotion can only be made long after the occurrence of the original vacancy, with hampering effects upon Departments which call for rectification. The time and attention of Public Service Inspectors, especially in the larger States, are absorbed in dealing with promotions and transfers of officers to such an extent as to militate seriously against their usefulness in other directions, particularly in regard to the general organizations of Departments and the disposition of offices and officers to insure efficient and economical management. If inspectors were relieved of the responsibility of advising on staff changes involving promotions and transfers, more beneficial results would accrue from the exercise of their inspectorial functions, which are highly important and far-reaching in relation to successful administration of the Public Service Act.
That is the opinion of Mr. McLachlan, who had extensive experience under the old system, and who recommends the change which is now being made.
The following paper was presented : -
Papua. - Ordinance No. 9 of 1921. - -Supple mentary Appropriation (No. 4) 1920-21.
.- I move-
That the Senate, ait its rising, adjourn until 3 p.m. on Tuesday next.
It was suggested that we should meet on Monday, but I believe it is the desire of honorable senators that we should meet on Tuesday. We shall have a considerable quantity of business to dispose of next week; but, if honorable senators think that the time of meeting should be changed, I am prepared to consider any request which may be submitted.
.- If the Senate should meet on Monday instead of Tuesday, it would meet the convenience of honorable senators who have to remain in Melbourne over the weekend. Honorable senators representing distant States have had very little consideration in the past, and as we shall have to discuss the Appropriation Bill and other important measures, I think we should meet on Monday. Honorable senators should be allowed the same latitude in discussing proposed expenditure in connexion with various Government Departments as has been extended to honorable members in another place, and I do not think that opportunity can be afforded unless we sit on five days.
– One week’s discussion would not give us the same latitude.
– ‘The number of members here is smaller. It would be better to meet on Monday instead of sitting day and night.
– I have to attend a conference in connexion with the export of flour on Monday, and I do not know at present if the Minister for Repatriation (Senator E. D. Millen) can attend on that day.
– Could we not meet on Tuesday at 11 o’clock!
– I am quite agreeable to that.
– I am agreeable, and ask leave to amend my motion.
Motion, by leave, amended accordingly.
– I do not think I shall be able to attend the sittings of the Senate next week, but I shall be glad if the Minister (Senator Russell) can give some indication of the business to be transacted. I understand that it is the intention of another place to rise on Friday next, but I do not know if this branch of the Legislature has been consulted.
– I am anxious to dispose of the balanco of the amendments to the Commonwealth Public Service Bill. We shall also have to pass the Appropriation Bill, a Bill repealing the War Precautions Act in connexion with metals, and an amending measure dealing with enemy patents.
– And there is the Tariff.
– Is it the intention of Parliament to prorogue, or merely to go into recess?
– As far as I know, we shall not prorogue.
– The Commonwealth Public Service Bill should be disposed of. If we arc to meetagain after a short adjournment over Christmas, it does not matter very much.
– The Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) is visiting Adelaide this weekend, and as honorable senators representing that State desire to remain in Adelaide while he is there, it is unlikely that they will be able to attend the meetings of the Senate until Wednesday.
– The Minister (Senator Russell) promised that before the third reading of the Public Service Bill was moved honorable senators would be supplied with a copy of the measure containing all the amendments. If that is to be done no time should be lost in submitting copies. Senator Russell. - I shall endeavour to do that.
Question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 3.50 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 2 December 1921, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1921/19211202_senate_8_98/>.