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Friday, 12 December 1913

Senator MILLEN - The answers are -

1.   The "unsatisfactory state of affairs" has existed for years, and, as a result of representations made, the Minister, in May, 1912, approved of steps being taken to obtain the loan of an expert officer from the British Army to advise generally as to the organization, system, methods, and general routine best adapted for the Ordnance Services in Australia. This officer has made a report, which is now under consideration.

2.   Replies and explanation are furnished to the Auditor-General as soon as they are received from the officers responsible for the work of the Ordnance Stores. The delays which occur are due to various causes, but principally to the fact that the Universal Training System has thrown such a lot of extra work on the Department that the permanent staff has been insufficient to meet the demand, and it takes time before newpersonnel can be sufficiently trained to be of much use. The employment of temporary hands has been tried and found most unsatisfactory.

3.   Instances have occurred where clerks have made incorrect bookkeeping entries.

4.   No reason has been disclosed for taking any action with regard to the Secretary. Any clerk's shown to be incompetent as a result of investigation now proceeding will be dispensed with.

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