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Thursday, 24 November 1927

Mr MAKIN (South Australia) (4:53 PM) . - I wish to draw the attention of the Minister for Trade and Customs to a serious anomaly existing in the customs branch at Port Adelaide. I have mentioned this matter previously to the Minister.

Mr PRATTEN (MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the honorable member making this complaint after having reeived my letter

Mr MAKIN - I have received further information, which I wish to give to the Minister. Recently officers of the Customs Department approached a tribunal in Adelaide for an adjustment of their wages and conditions, and some important information was elicited. The staff is seriously shorthanded. Its work is important. We all know of the daring attempt that was made to smuggle undesirable aliens into Sydney recently, and also into Port Adelaide some time ago. The officers of the department are efficient and are doing their best, but they cannot accomplish the impossible. I find that Mr. H. L. Hanson, a boarding inspector, stated that under his control were eight searchers and watchmen, a foreman searcher and two senior boarding officers, and that five additional watchmen and another officer were needed for the immigration work alone. The number of first port of call passengers landed at Port Adelaide last year was 4,914, and 5,410 other passengers were also landed there. While the department is shorthanded there is bound to be some evasions of the immigration law.

At 5 p.m.

The CHAIRMAN - I call the attention of the committee to the fact that the time allotted for the discussion of these proposed votes has expired.

Amendment negatived.

Proposed votes agreed to.

Business Undertakings (Commonwealth Railways, £586,165 ; PostmasterGeneral's Department. £10,040,253) ; Territories of the Commonwealth, £301,025 .

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