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Thursday, 15 July 1926

Senator McHUGH (South Australia) (12:12 PM) . - In the appointment of commissioners it is always more or less dangerous to make the period of appointment too long. In my opinion, Parliament should have full control over any commission; once a man is appointed for a fixed period to a commission it is hard to remove him without litigation. I do not want to see the Commonwealth engaged in litigation with one of those who are engaged in the Public Service. It spoils the morale of the service. I am sorry that the Minister responsible for keeping us here to-night is not listening to the debate. He should have permitted honorable senators, as well as the staff, to adjourn at the usual hour until tomorrow morning, when we should all have been fresh and better able to do our work. A big principle is involved in this clause. In my opinion, it would be advisable to appoint persons to responsible positions like this on probation. After they had proved themselves, their term of office could be fixed. It is essential that the members of this commission shall have a wide experience of marketing arrange ments, for it will be necessary for them to open up markets for the produce that the migrants will grow. The marketing problem must be looked at from the point of view of Australia. I read in a well-known Australian journal a short while ago, that the best Australian fruit was being sold in London as " best Calif Californian," and ordinary Australian fruit as " best Australian." It should not be possible for merchants abroad to do that sort of thing. Australian meat is the equal of meat sold here for ls., brings only 3 1/2d. per lb. abroad, and one does not need to attend two or three universities to discover the reason for it. This commission should prevent that kind of thing. I am glad that the Government, by introducing the tariff that was before us recently, has shown a desire to develop secondary industries in Australia; but undoubtedly most of the migrants that will come here under this scheme will be engaged in primary production. If we could obtain the services of a man like Mr. C. P. G. McCann, a South Australian, who was employed by the South Australian Government in London at £700 a year, and later accepted the management of one of the principal Argentine meat-works at a salary of £8,000 a year, we should be fortunate. We need men of wide capacity ; and if we can get them I should not be averse to paying them a high salary. I regret that the Government will not inform honorable senators of the salaries it proposes to offer to members of this commission.

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