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Wednesday, 21 August 1912

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senator cannot deal with the question of administration of the staff of a Department on this Bill which covers appropriations only for additions, new works, and buildings.

Senator NEEDHAM - I bow to your ruling, sir. I was under the impression that I should be in order in referring to the remuneration of sorters, but I shall deal with that matter on the general Estimates. There is in the schedule an item of £5,000 for a new general post-office at Perth. An area of land has been resumed in the centre of that city at a cost of £170,000. I should like to know when it is intended to commence the work, and where the new post-office will be situated. I understand that some time ago certain sketch plans were prepared which indicated that a new street would be cut through the resumed area from Wellington-street to Murray-street. It was then suggested that the new post-office should be erected in the centre of the new street. Since then an alteration of the plan has been proposed, and I am given to understand that the building is to be placed fronting either Wellington-street or Murray-street. The people of Perth and of Western Australia generally are anxious that the new postoffice should be commenced as soon as possible, and the Government should come to some decision as to where the building shall be erected. I intended to make some references to rifle clubs, but, in the absence of the Minister of Defence, I shall defer my remarks on that subject until we get into Committee. I wish again to emphasize what I have said about " The Man on the Job." I say that the employes and the Government were slandered in the' article which has been referred to. No definite charge was made, and the whole attack was really on the day-labour principle. The policy of the present Government is to carry out public works by day-labour. They have been successful in erecting public buildings under that system morecheaply than they could have been erected' under the contract system. Some of theState Governments have done the same. The day-labour system, with proper supervision, has always proved more economical' than the contract system. It is because our- honorable friends opposite hate the daylabour system that they launch these charges in order to discredit the Government and the works they are carrying out. I hope they will accept the challenge which has been issued to them, and will give the name of the writer of the article, and the names of the employes referred to, and if they do 1 shall be prepared to support a thorough inquiry into the whole matter.

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