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Friday, 24 August 1906
Friday, 24 August 1906

Mr. Speakertook the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF. MILITARY FORCES.

Mr. JOHNSON(for Mr. Reid) asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence -

Have the Government, in their selection of an officer for the chief position in the Military Forces, beenassisted by any expert military advice ?

Mr. EWING.- The answer to the right honorable member's question is as follows: -

In the opinion of the Government, the officer elected to fill the position of Inspector-General of the Commonwealth Military Forces possesses the necessary military qualifications and experience. In making the selection, the Government have been assisted by the recorded opinions of officers of high military rank in the British Army.

COMMONWEALTH ARBITRATION COURT.

Mr. KELLYasked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -

When will the necessary action be taken to secure the hearing of business long pending in the Commonwealth Arbitration Court?

Mr. ISAACS.-The answer to the honorable member's question is -

Official business will require my presence in Sydney early next week, and I shall then take the opportunity of consulting His Honor the Chief Justice and the President of the Arbitration Court . on the matter.

ELECTORAL ROLLS.

Mr. KINGO'M ALLEY asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -

In view of the fact that the franchise is practically identical in New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia, and Queensland with that of the Commonwealth, is there not any possibility of utilizing the one roll for both State and Commonwealth purposes, and thereby save the Commonwealth thousands of pounds annually ?

Mr. GROOM.- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows: -

The Conference of Commonwealth and State Electoral Officers, which met in Melbourne in April last, reported that the constitution of a joint roll generally for both Commonwealth and State purposes is both practicable and desirable in the interests of administration and economy, but, owing to the very large number of fine distinctions which would be necessary therein, under existing conditions, it would be more profitable to defer the preparation of such a roll until the several Governments have determined how far they may deem it expedient, by means of amending legislation, to obviate the necessity for these distinctions.

The necessity for jointaction, as between the Commonwealth and the States in connexion with electoral matters, is being kept constantly in view.

The Commonwealth, in its amended legislation, has provided for the use of the joint roll when desired, and it now remains for the State Governments to take similar action.

CLERKS : GENERAL POST OFFICE, SYDNEY.

Mr. AUSTINCHAPMAN. - On the 15th August, the honorable and learned member for West Sydney asked the following questions, to which an interim reply was furnished: -

1. What was the number of clerks in the General Post Office, Sydney, prior to the inauguration of the Commonwealth?

2. What is the present number?

3. How many clerical positions have been abolished since the transfer of this Department to the Commonwealth ?

4. How many positions are there on the clerical staffat present unfilled?

5. In view of the large increase in the clerical work in the General Post Office, Sydney, since Federation, does he consider that this reduction was justifiable?

6. Considering the amount of overtime which the clerks are compelled to work at the office mentioned, will he take immediate steps tofill existing vacancies, and to augment the clerical staff, so that this overworking may cease.

The answers, are as follow : - 1.194, excluding 48 clerks employed in the Government Savings Bank and not taken over by the Commonwealth.

2. 228, including 40 officers who were clerks prior to classification, but who now hold general division designations, and still possess clerical status.

3. 23 ; 15 on the recommendation of the Deputy Postmaster-General ; 3 marked as unnecessary in the classification ; 2 unfilled prior to classification and omitted therefrom ; 3 consequent on transfers to general office prior to Commissioner's appointment.

4. Nine. 5.It will be seen from reply to question 3 that, in the majority of cases, the positions were abolished on the recommendation' of the Deputy Postmaster-General. who considered it unnecessary to fill same, and in other cases at the instance of the Public Service Commissioner, after an inspection and examination by his inspector, into the work of the General Post Office, Sydney.

6. The Public Service Commissioner has re cently intimated that so soon as the approved proposals for the amalgamation of certain branches in the General Post Office, Sydney, now in course of arrangement, are given effect to, some of the present positions will become unnecessary, and there will be a superfluity of officers. Under these circumstances if is not deemed necessary to augment the clerical staff.







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