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Tuesday, 12 December 1911

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) .- I do not like to characterize the efforts of Senator Rae to make legislation of this description difficult in the way that I am tempted to do. Let me put to him a suppositive case-: Suppose that a man was in the employ of so honorable a gentleman as Senator Fraser, and that a difficulty arose in connexion with the pastoral industry, the employe' being stationed in Queensland. Would Senator Rae ask Senator Fraser to pay that employe his wages whilst he attended the sittings of the Arbitration Court in Sydney, with aview to securing a higher rate of wages or improved conditions of employment? Or would he expect Senator Fraser to pay his travelling expenses?

Senator Guthrie - Somebody has to pay them.

Senator McGREGOR - But the question which we have to consider is, " Are we going to put the members of our Public Service in a better position than that which is occupied by ordinary employes outside the service ? " I say that difficulties are not likely to arise in connexion with our public servants, because it is to the interests of the Public Service Commissioner, and every member of the Commonwealth Government, to see that things in that service run smoothly. But if a difficulty does arise, and officers have to attend the Arbitration Court to give evidence, they will certainly obtain leave of absence, and their pay will continue.

Senator Rae - That is all I am asking for.

Senator McGREGOR - The Bill already provides for that. Senator Rae is merely attempting to muddle the Bill.

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