Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Friday, 9 July 1915

Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) . - I have heard no argument to shake my determination to proceed with the amendment. The whole crux of the question lies in the fact that Ministers have said they are overworked, Parliament has said they are overworked, and we all say in our charitable moments, when replies to requests are delayed, that they are overworked. We have in our hands to-day a Bill which is supposed toremedy that defect, but it does not do so. It is announced as ostensibly a measure intended to relieve Ministers of some of the work they have to do. The people will examine it, and ask where the relief to Ministers domes in. They will say, ' ' All we can see in this Bill is an increase in the Ministerial salaries by ?1,650." The people are common sense and matteroffact, and that is the view they will take. We are asked to agree to this increase in the Ministerial salaries under the guise of giving Ministers help.

Senator Pearce - In introducing the Bill, I pointed out that it will give us real additional help.

Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - We have already one man performing every duty, except the final details, appertaining to an additional' Minister of Defence. He has unquestionably rendered the Minister of Defence great assistance in the past.

Senator Pearce - Yes, but with considerable limitations owing to the fact that he is not the Minister for the De.partment.

Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - As Assistant Minister, the only difficulty is . that he cannot put the finishing touch on Ministerial decisions.

Senator O'Keefe - Can he do any more work when he is called Minister of Marine than he will be able to do now he is called Assistant Minister?

Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The only additional help that the new Minister will be able to give will be in his ability to finalize work which hitherto he has handled up to the finalizing stage. We are told that Senator Gardiner, the Vice- President of the Executive Council, is to be transferred to the Defence Department. Another place is asking that the Minister of Defence should be transferred there, and my opinion is that if the Minister of Defence is to have an assistant, that assistant should be a member of another place. Senator Gardiner would do very well in the Postal Department, where already he has been doing excellent work, and where his ability and determination are sorely needed. My desire is that his services shall be placed at the disposal of the Department in which they are likely to be of most value to the country. I hope that honorable senators will vote for the amendment. Had I been proposing to amend the Bill in the direction of curtailing the assistance to Ministers, there would be something in the argument of the Minister of Defence; but all I am proposing is that the Govern- ment shall take advantage of the desire of senators that they shall have more assistance.

Suggest corrections