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Tuesday, 7 September 1920

Mr TUDOR (Yarra) .-Honorable members who were in the first Commonwealth Parliament will remember that when the original Public Service.. Bill was before the House a very long discus- sion took place in regard to the method df fixing the remuneration of public servants, and the present Minister for Works and Railways (Mr. Groom) and I were active in securing the insertion of a minimum wage clause. Later we took a further step forward, and the Government, of which the Prime Minister and I were members, decided that public servants should have the same right as every other individual in the community to have their claims heard by the Arbitration Court'. This Bill proposes to take from them that right, and to place them in a separate paddock. The Prime Minister proposes to do to the Commonwealth Public Service precisely what Sir William Irvine did when he, as Premier of Victoria, disfranchised State public ser,vants as ordinary electors, and gave them separate representation in the Legislature. This is an attempt to separate the sheep from the goats, and there is no justification for it. Public servants have the same rights as have other sections of the community, but simply because they are not in the employ of private individuals or State Governments, they are to be set apart from all other employees. It is true that the Bill proposes to establish an Arbitrator for the Public Ser.vice, but he will not have the same status as a Judge of the Arbitration Court. I know that a large number of cases are pending before the Arbitration Court at the present time, and this proposal to constitute a separate Tribunal may relieve the work of the Court, but I understand that the public servants are practically unanimous :n preferring to remain under the Arbitration Court rather than to pass under the jurisdiction of a separate Arbitrator. I think their objection is sound and logical. The report which Mr. McLachlan prepared for the Government and Parliament shows that in 1903 the Commonwealth Public Service comprised 11,374 officers, and the total salary bill was £1,521,000. On the 30th June, 1918, the number of employees had increased to 23,424, and the salary bill to £3,943,000. The explanation is that 'the number of Departments has increased. There was no Works and Railways Department in 1903.

Mr Groom - But the Works and Railways branch was in the Home and Territories Department.

Mi-. TUDOR. - That Department, too, has increased. In 1903 the Department of the Treasury employed thirty-four officers; to-day the total is 1,127. Why has this 'increase taken place? Simply because the biggest employing branches of the Treasury are those dealing with taxation. Does any honorable member suggest that they should be wiped out? The employees in the Trade and Customs Department have also increased simply because Quarantine and other subDepartments have been added to it. But the biggest increase has undoubtedly taken place in the Postal Department, which in 1903 contained 10,022 employees, where- as to-day it numbers 19,500, or nearly double that number. Will anybody affirm that we ought to curtail the activities of the Postmaster-General's Department? I know that some persons hold that public servants are chiefly distinguished by the anxiety they exhibit for the arrival of the luncheon-hour or the knock-off hour.

Mr West - And of their pay-day.

Mr TUDOR - Precisely. So far as my experience of public servants is concerned, such an idea is an entirely erroneous one. I have had the privilege of visiting every Customs House in the Commonwealth from the north of Cairns to Fremantle, and my experience is that the men who are in the employ of the Government are at least the equal, if not the superior, of those who are engaged in private employ. It may be suggested that a member of Parliament is afraid to express views which are antagonistic to public servants, because of the wellorganized Public Service vote. But if there be any Parliament in Australia which is free from Public Service influence, it certainly is the Commonwealth Parliament. No member of the National Legislature need fear to express his views of our public servants with the utmost freedom.

At the present time no less than four measures dealing with the Commonwealth Public Service are awaiting our consideration. There is the Bill which we are now discussing, the Public Service (Board of Management) Bill, a measure relating to a superannuation scheme, and another dealing with the question of dual furlough. In considering all these measures we. ought to be animated solely by a desire to mete out even-handed justice. We have to ask ourselves whether it is wise to transfer our Commonwealth public servants from the Arbitration Court to another Tribunal upon which a special arbitrator is to adjudicate.

Mr Maxwell - That is the whole question.

Mr TUDOR - I have never been able to see any valid reason why different treatment should be meted out to our public servants from that which is meted out to any private individuals. In this connexion I may be asked what attitude I shall adopt when the Bill dealing with superannuation comes before us. My reply is that I am prepared to give every private individual the right to contribute to an insurance fund the same proportion of his salary as I am willing to allow a public servant to pay into a superannuation fund.

Mr Fowler - Does the honorable member favour a scheme of national insurance ?

Mr TUDOR - I am not permitted to discuss that matter upon this Bill. I have merely foreshadowed the attitude which I shall adopt towards the measure dealing with Public Service superannuation. I have not read the whole of the debate upon this Bill in another branch of the Legislature, but evidently the Government are anxious to remove Commonwealth public servants from the jurisdiction of the Arbitration Court and to give them an arbitrator of their own.

Mr Maxwell - Is it not the real object of the Bill to relieve the congestion which exists in the Arbitration Court?

Mr TUDOR - If the appointment of an arbitrator will relieve that congestion, obviously the appointment of an additional Judge would have precisely the same effect.

Mr Riley - And the adoption of that course would obviate the necessity for creating another Department.

Mr TUDOR - Of course. Under this Bill another Department will be created - there need be no doubt about that. The scheme embodied in it will be like a snowball - the farther it goes the bigger it will grow. Those who follow closely the proceedings before the Arbitration Court must have noticed the reference which was yesterday made there to the case of the Builders' Labourers. That body is one of the most militant organizations in Australia, and its secretary, Mr. Percy Smith, stated only yesterday that they had been waiting since 1915 to secure an alteration of the award.

Mr Burchell - Was not the award given in 1916?

Mr TUDOR - It may have been. When men have to wait so long before they can get access to the Court they are likely to become fractious, and to kick over the traces in their desire to obtain a speedier method of settling their grievance. We all know that the Judges of the Arbitration Court are at present working at high pressure in an attempt to dispose of the accumulation of business. Quit© recently Mr. Justice Starke, "who is dealing exclusively with Public. Service cases, sat at night in an endeavour to dispose finally of some of the cases claiming his attention. Only the other day, when I was returning from the Ballarat election, I was a. passenger in the same train as His Honour, who had been to Port Augusta and Western Australia in connexion with the railway servants' case.

I would like to know why the public servants of the Commonwealth should be treated differently from persons who are in private employ. I know that Mr. McLachlan, who is a very estimable gentleman, and who was a good officer of the Commonwealth, was always opposed to our public servants being allowed access to the Arbitration Court. . But because we esteem that gentleman we are not bound to agree with his views. It is quite possible that, to some extent, the difficulties which have arisen in connexion with our Public Service may be due to the number of important offices which are being filled by acting heads. For example, more than four years have elapsed since we had a Public Service Commissioner. Mr. Edwards has been acting in that capacity during the whole of that period, and many other positions which have been vacant for a considerable time have not yet been permanently filled. I remember once working for an employer who was generally regarded as a model man. Everybody whom I met outside described him as a "fine boss," and I was frequently assured by people that they had never met his equal. My reply was, "Did you ever work for him?" That makes all the difference. In much the same way Mr. McLachlan, as Public Service Commissioner, might have been a very different man to a member of Parliament from what he was to the public servants who had to work under him.

Mr McWilliams - Mr. McLachlan was not a bad friend to the Service.

Mr TUDOR - I am not saying he was, but I should like to read the following from his summary of findings and recommendations, as set forth in his report : -

The operationsof the Arbitration (Public Service) Act have greatly increased the work and responsibilities of the Public Service Commissioner and Inspectors, and rendered departmental working more difficult and complex.

He then refers the reader to a page of his report, on which is to be found the reasons for this conclusion. He proceeds -

The Arbitration Court has found the greatest difficulty in following the intricacies of Public Service organization, with theresult that awards have been productive of many anomalies and inconsistencies.

While a proportion of the expenditure under arbitration awards would have been provided for by the Commissioner in the absence of any system of arbitration, many of the provisions of the awards, both as to salaries and extraneous payments, have been upon an extra- ' vagant scale, and unjustifiable.

If that is a reflection on anybody, it is not a reflection on the public servants, but on whichever Judge made the award - it is either a reflection on the Judge or on the Department which took the case to Court, and defended it-

Mr Burchell - Does Mr. McLachlan not say in an earlier part of his report that it was difficult for the Judge to follow the various ramifications of the Service ?

Mr TUDOR - Mr. McLachlansays that the Arbitration Court " has found the greatest difficulty in following the intricacies of Public Service organization, with the result that awards have been productive of many anomalies and inconsistencies." I suppose that public servants, being human, do not fail to point out any " anomalies and inconsistencies " that they find, just as members of Parliament would under similar circumstances. If a Judge had to fix the parliamentary salary instead of our fixing it for ourselves, and he made the amount in New South Wales different from that in Victoria, and so forth, I think we should take precisely the same attitude as that taken up by the public servants.

Mr Burchell - I am not objecting to the public servants pointing out anomalies.

Mr TUDOR - Neither am I.

Mr Fowler - At any rate, the Arbitrator will find the difficulties just as great as has the Judge.

Mr TUDOR - The honorable member is merely anticipating me. The Arbitrator will be in exactly the same position as is a Judge of the Court. I am not quite sure which Judge has made the awards in connexion with the Public Service.

Mr Riley - Mr. Justice Starke.

Mr TUDOR - Did not Mr. Justice Isaacs hear some of the cases?

Mr Groom - He heard the journalists' case. The Public Service cases have been taken of late mainly by Mr. Justice Powers.

Mr TUDOR - And now they are taken by Mr. Justice Starke?

Mr Groom - The President has also taken some.

Mr TUDOR - In any case, I fail to see how any man we might choose in Australia as Arbitrator will be in any better position than these Judges are. Of course, as is usual when a position is likely to become vacant, names have been mentioned in, connexion with it.

Mr West - I heard that the position was to be given to a rejected member of Parliament.

Mr TUDOR - Neither of the names I have heard mentioned are those of rejected members.

Mr McWilliams - The name I have heard is that of a member of Parliament.

Mr TUDOR - Of the names I have heard, one is that of a present official very high up in the Public Service, and the other that of an ex-public servant, who was also veryhigh up.

Mr Groom - As a matter of fact, there is no foundation for any of those suggestions.

Mr TUDOR - Either of the gentlemen whose names I have heard mentioned might fill the position very efficiently, but I do not think either would be a whit better off than is a Judge.

Mr Maxwell - Exceptingthat he would give his whole time and attention to, and become an expert in, the particular work.

Mr TUDOR - The same might be said of Mr. Justice Starke, or any other Judge who has been engaged on the work. The members of the Public Service are unanimous on this point, and I cannot see how the proposals of the Government will relieve the congestion. However, Mr. McLachlan, in his summary of find ings and recommendations, goes on to say-

Recognition of Public Service Associations, without a defined method of regulating their scope and activities, has resulted in reduced efficiency and a slackening of discipline in De partments; these conditions have been accentuated by controlling officers joining the same unions as their subordinates.

Of course, I do not know what happens in the Public Service in this regard, but I know what happens in outside employment. Foremen on buildings are members of the same unions as the men, and this was the case, for example, when those fine buildings facing Lonsdalestreet were erected by day labour for the Melbourne Hospital. The clerk of works on these buildings was the president of the . Bricklayers Union, and also the president of the Building Trades Federation of Victoria. When I worked in a mill the foremen were members of the same unions as the men, and they reaped the reward of any advantages which the men obtained through their organization. Apparently Mr. McLachlan thinks that a public servant, because he is in a higher position, ought not to be a member of a union of which those below him are members. I may say that the public servants deny that recognition of public service associations "has resulted in reduced efficiency and a slackening of discipline in a Department," or that " those conditions have been accentuated by controlling officers joining the same unions as their subordinates." Mr. McLachlan proceeds -

The affiliation of Public Service Associations with outside labour unions has had a pernicious effect on the morale of the Service. Future recognition of associations should be conditional on there being no such affiliation.

Why? Are the men employed in the Public Service any differentfrom men in outside employment? Are lettercarriers, who deliver letters to bricklayers or coal-miners, not earning their living just as much as are those bricklayers and coal-miners? I do not know that many of the Public Service organizations are affiliated with outside labour unions, but, however that may be, we have no right to restrain them from affiliating.

Mr Groom - There is no proposal to do that.

Mr TUDOR - No ; but at the present moment I am dealing with Mr. McLachlan's report, in view of which it is no wonder the public servants are a bit afraid of this measure taking them from under the scope of the Arbitration Act. They want to know, therefore, whether they will be able to secure benefits from the present piece of legislation. Mr. McLachlan proceeds -

Departments have been thwarted and hampered by the action of Public Service Associations, and by a system of terrorism levelled against controlling officers of Departments, and against the rank and file of associations by executive officials of these associations.

Instead of that being the case, the associations have assisted in the working of Departments by offering suggestions. Many of the proposals for the better working of Departments which have been put into usef ul effect have emanated from the rank and file rather than from the controlling officers. Mr. McLachlan states further -

Results of six years of Public Service arbitration have been disloyalty, extravagance, and reduced efficiency.

I cannot credit that such has been the case ; otherwise, surely, we would have heard of it. Surely the heads of our great Departments would have made known and taken necessary steps to remedy such a state of affairs. I refer to public officials in whom we have every confidence: Mr. Oxenham, for example; and Mr. Bright; Mr. Young, Mr. Lockyer, Mr. Mills, Mr. Whitton, Mr. Oakley, and Mr.W. H. Barkley. I doubt if the Government will find these head officials prepared to indorse Mr. McLachlan 's statements.

Mr Stewart - What does Mr. McLachlan mean by his reference to disloyalty ?

Mr TUDOR - I take it for granted that he refers to disloyalty to the Department. The report proceeds: -

Continuance of the Arbitration (Public Service) Act upon the statute-book will have serious and disastrous effects as regards discipline and efficiency of the Service, and inflict an unjustifiable and grievous burden upon the taxpaying community.

If that means anything at all, it means that it is hoped to force employees to work longer hours, or. at cheaper rates.

Mr Brennan - I hope, at any rate, that we do not have Mr. McLachlan as Arbitrator.

Mr TUDOR - As for that, I do not think he would apply for the job. Are we to understand by this last reference that public servants are to expect very little from this measure?

Mr McWilliams - When Mr. McLachlan was in the Service he was con sidered one of the fairest andstraightest among civil servants.

Mr TUDOR - I have not said anything against the gentleman personally. But, no doubt, the public servants will be able to look after themselves. I recall that at a smoke social of Customs officials I once remarked that I was aware that under our Public Service laws departmental officers were prohibited from taking part in political matters. I reminded those present that, while opium was a prohibited import the Chinese in Australia, who wanted to smoke opium, did not seem to be effectively prevented from doing so. I have not the slightest doubt that public servants, who so desire, do take an interest in politics; and, of course, we have no right to separate them from the general body of the public in this respect.

Mr Maxwell - But we would be separating them even if a Judge were appointed to do their special work.

Mr TUDOR - Public Service employees have been working under the present Act, and they are not anxious for a change, particularly in view of some of the statements of Mr. McLachlan, whose report, no doubt, has at least hurried on the measure now before the House. All that is required to meet the present situation is to appoint more Deputy Judges, so that the Public Service cases now awaitingconsideration may be speedily dealt with. Public servants should not be asked to wait longer than anybody else for settlement of their troubles, especially in view of the ever-increasing cost of living.

I take it that Commonwealth servants will have no opportunity or right of going before the industrial peace tribunals, but I do not know that definitely. The trouble is that numbers of public servants do notknow exactly where they stand, or under what body or award - if any - they may benefit. Employees connected with the Commonwealth Line of Steamers, for example, do not know where they are. I have a file of correspondence before me which emphasizes that point. I wrote to the manager for the Commonwealth Line of Steamers on. 27th July as follows: -

On the 4th June last you wrote to Mr. C. E. Walters, of 73 Stanhope-street, Malvern, regarding the question of payment due for an nual leave not granted, also for Sundays and gazetted holidays worked by him.

This man claims that, being a member of the association,he was working under arbitration award No. 7 of 1919, which prescribes certain rates for temporary clerks.

I shall be glad if you will reconsider his application and adviseme.

The reply of Mr. Eva stated -

Your letter relates to a claim made by Mr. C. E. Walters, who was formerly employed with this line. I am, however, not clear as to the nature of the claim which Mr. Walters litis put before you. Apparently he is claiming certain benefits under an award for temporary clerks; but he was a permanent employee of this line, and, as such, received all the benefits which accrue to the permanent members of the staff. You will appreciate, therefore, that I experience some difficulty in understanding the claim put forward under the award for temporary clerks.

But when this man said he was a permanent employee, and entitled to something, he was told that he was not that either; so-, he was out of everything. I wrote again, therefore, on the 23rd August : -

I received your letter of 10th instant relative to Mr. C. E. Walters, who was formerly employed in your office.

I would refer you to the claims made in his letters to you on 19th May and 14th June last.

In your communication you contend that this man is not entitled to any benefits under the award for temporary clerks, as he was a permanent employee.

Will you please advise me, if such is the case, as to whether this man is entitled to all benefits given by the Court in awards for permanent employees?

I presume that all the different employees in your Department (as in all other Government offices), are working under an award, either for temporary clerks or for permanent officers.

On 2nd September the following reply, from another official of the Department, came to hand : -

Mr. Evais at present away owing to illhealth, and I do not expect that he will be back for two or three weeks, so I am taking the liberty of replying to your letter.

The claim Originally made by Mr. Walters was for payment in lieu of annual leave alleged to be due, and also for payment alleged to be due for work performed by him on Sundays and holidays, the claims being made under the temporary clerks' award.

We informed Mr. Walters that, in our opinion, ho was not entitled to the benefits for whichhe was claiming, and in this opinion we were guided by the following facts: - " The employees of this line are in an entirely different position to that of temporary employees in the Commonwealth Service. The latter are employed only for short periods, whereas employees of this line are assured of permanent employment so longas they show themselves capable of carrying out their duties. Further, a temporary clerk is defined in the award of the Temporary Clerks Association as a person temporarily employed as a clerk in clerical work in the Public Service of the Commonwealth, or in the Navy or Defence Departments. " Since the Public Service regulations donot apply to the Commonwealth Government Line of Steamers, we take it that the award governing the service of permanent Government clerks does not apply to the officers of this line."

It would seem, then, that this man cannot secure benefits either as a temporary or as a permanent employee.

Mr Groom - The word " temporary " in that connexion means " temporary under the Public Service Act."

Mr TUDOR - Yes, under an award which temporary employees obtained.. The letter concludes : -

You will no doubt appreciate that if this line is to be run as a commercial proposition in competition with other shipping lines, it is essential- that the management should have a free hand with regard to staff; and it is the expressed desire of the general manager in London that our staff should be working under similar conditions to those of the employees of the leading shipping offices in Australia.

Mr. Waltersat the date of his engagement; was fully acquainted with the conditions of his employment, and he did not express any dissatisfaction with them at the time.

Will the employees of the Commonwealth steamers come under the operations of this measure ?

Mr Groom - I am not sure, but will see.

Mr TUDOR - Will the employees of the Railway Department be included?

Mr Groom - A provision of the Railways Act of 1917 preserves to the employees of the Commonwealth railways their rights under the Arbitration (Public Service) Act.

Mr TUDOR - If the employees of the Commonwealth steamers are not included in this Bill, they should have the right of ordinary citizens to appeal to the Arbitration Court.

Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - They should have the right which shipping clerks in private shipping companies' offices possess.

Mr TUDOR - But according to the letter I have read, it is not admitted that they have that right.

Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - The letter does not deny that they have the right of appeal to the Commonwealth Arbitration Court.

Mr TUDOR - Clerical workers in Victoria are working under an award of the Arbitration- Court, and under the State legislation a Wages Board has just been appointed to deal with the conditions of their employment. We must see that fair play is meted out to these shipping clerks, who do not know what their position will be under this legislation. The Prime Minister has told us that cases already commenced in the Arbitration Court will be- in the position of the case in which Mr. Justice Higgins is dealing with the question of a forty-four hours week.

Mr Maxwell - That is provided for in this Bill.

Mr TUDOR - I hope that this measure, when passed, will be proclaimed fairly early, so that persons affected by it will know their position as soon as possible. An 'organization which has been put to considerable expense in preparing a case for the Arbitration Court may be obliged to commence all over again preparing a case for the Arbitrator.

Mr Groom - All the papers will be transferred. The case will go straight to the Arbitrator.

Mr TUDOR - I have been supplied with the following statement representing the views of the Public Service in regard to the office of Arbitrator: -

The Bill dealing with the conditions of employment in the Public Service makes provision for an arbitrator. It is the unanimous request of the Service that the Arbitrator should be assisted in his duties by one representative from the officers and one from the Government to be elected jointly by the various Ministers and the Public' Service Board. We feel that if the Arbitrator had the assistance of these officers he would be able to more effectively discharge his duties.

In the Arbitration Court of Western Australia the organizations and the employers have a representative on the bench to assist the Judge. In the Victorian Railways Classification Board, which deals with the conditions of employment of all Victorian railways officers, Judge Winneke is assisted by representatives from the Railways Union, and representatives from the Railways Commissioners. The New South Wales Board of Trade, which fixes the living wage for the workers of that State, is similarly constituted. The Federal Basie Wage Commission, which was appointed by the Commonwealth Government, consists of an independent Chairman or Arbitrator, together with representatives from the employees and the employers. This practice is generally followed in Arbitration Court proceedings and Wages Boards throughout the State of Victoria.

I agree that the men in the Service .are in a better position to know more of the actual work performed than it is possible for any outside person to know, but. I do not agree with the suggested method of appointing the Government's nominee. No doubt Cabinet would be guided by the Public Service Board provided for in another Bill, but Ministers themselves should make the choice. I hope the Government will give consideration to the suggestion for the appointment of assesors. so that the- Arbitrator may be able to inform himself in the best possible way by securing the expert advice of assessors as to the conditions applying in the Public Service. In my opinion, provision should be made in the Bill prescribing that award rates will be payable to only members of organizations, which bodies are put to a great deal of ex(pense in fighting arbitration cases. At the present time the Victorian Railways Union are fighting a case at Spencerstreet, and the letter carriers are fighting another case before Mr. Justice Starke in the Arbitration Court. It is unjust to them that any person who chooses to stand outside an organization, not contributing a penny to the cost of fighting a case, should reap any of the advantages gained. We are told by the Treasurer that if people do .not give voluntarily to the Peace Loan they will be compelled to contribute, on the ground that they have gained advantages through the efforts of our men who went overseas to fight. The unions take up the same attitude in regard to arbitration proceedings, and contend that only the members of those organizations who fight their cases through the Court should obtain the benefit of any increases awarded. I regret exceedingly that it has been found necessary to bring in this Bill. I trust the Government will still consider the advisability of appointing one Judge to get all these arbitration cases out of the way, and so deal with the Public Service exactly as other members of the community are treated. The Public Service to-day cannot be said to be a place that is attracting and keeping those persons who used to flock to it in the past. I know that for years when telegraphists were wanted in Queensland they had to be sent from Victoria and other States. Victorian boys who passed the entrance examination for the Service would receive a communication to this effect : " Are you willing to take service in New South Wales, Queens- land, or Tasmania (,as the case might be) ? If so, you can be given an appointment there> whereas if you wait until your turn comes here, the chances are that you will not be appointed at all." They were also told that they would be kept in the State to which they were appointed for a certain number of years, and then they " might " obtain a transfer back to Victoria. Many boys whom I knew personally have gone in that way to other States.

Mr Bamford - As public servants?

Mr TUDOR - Yes.

Mr Bamford - My experience has been quite the reverse.

Mr TUDOR - I know that many telegraphists have gone to Queensland.

Mr Laird Smith - And quite a number went to Western Australia.

Mr TUDOR - The point I was making was that it was easy enough to get a transfer from Victoria to Queensland, but very difficult to get a transfer back from Queensland to Victoria. Perhaps that is what the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Bamford) was thinking of. The position to-day is that, within six months, according to an answer given recently to the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakely), over 1,000 employees have left the Public Service because they could do better outside. If we are to have an efficient and first-class Service we must improve the conditions which we have to offer. " I was for some time in charge of a Department that is collecting anything from £18,000,000 to £20,000,000 per annum.

Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - Much more than that.

Mr TUDOR - The revenue is, perhaps, £24,000,000 now, largely owing to the inflation of values, a condition which is apparently likely to last for some time, and owing also to the fact that we are importing some things which we ought to be producing in Australia. Whatever the revenue may be, the Minister, for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) will agree that we must have efficient men in the Department to value the imports. We must have good men, and we must make the Service sufficiently attractive to keep those who are in it. There is no party politics about that question at all. If this Bill will tend to create a discontented Service we shall not do wisely to pass it in its present shape. We must keep the best men in the Service, and we must have a good Service, because without it the wheels of the Commonwealth will not run as smoothly as they otherwise would. 1 regret that the Bill has been brought forward, but, as it has been, I trust that we shall be able to amend it in Committee in such a way that it will give* greater satisfaction to that body of men who do such good work for the Commonwealth, that is, the public servants of Australia.

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