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Thursday, 3 November 1910

Senator STEWART (Queensland) . - Senator Symon seems to be satisfied that clause 9 is satisfactory ; but I should like to know what interpretation is to be put upon the term " public officers and public functionaries." Are these persons paid by the Government of South Australia, or do they merely hold honorary positions, like justices of the peace? If they are paid officers, it seems to me that clause 9 will come into conflict with the amendment made in clause n.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - No; clause 9 merely places the officers under the control of the Commonwealth, and clause it is that under which the Commonwealth is empowered to take them into its service.

Senator STEWART - The words used are, "shall continue to hold office under the Commonwealth in relation te the Northern Territory on the same terms and conditions as they have held office under the State." That means that they will be transferred to the Commonwealth on the same terms and conditions as applied lo them in the State service.

Senator Henderson - That is right; if the Commonwealth requires to retain their services.

Senator STEWART - I do not know whether the State could summarily dispense with their services. If they are in the position of ordinary civil servants, the State would not do anything of the kind.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - The State can dismiss any servant without any notice.

Senator STEWART - As far as my experience goes, it is difficult for a Government to dismiss anybody. If these public officers and functionaries are paid, and under this Bill they are transferred to the Commonwealth with all their rights preserved, the Commonwealth cannot interfere with a single right that they possess at the time of transfer. Clause 9 says that the officer "shall" be transferred, and then clause it qualifies clause 9 by saying that they " may " be transferred. Which of the two clauses is the effective one ? I suppose this is another means of finding work for that noble profession which Senator Symon so eminently adorns.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - The honorable senator does not object to that, sure y ?

Senator STEWART - I do not in the slightest degree; but I think we ought to be clear as to whether the public officers and functionaries referred to are merely honorary officers. If they are paid, it appears to me that clause 9 unmistakably comes into conflict with the amendment in clause 11.

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