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Wednesday, 6 July 1921

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) . - In reply to the remarks of Senator Thomas, I merely desire to say that we have deferred the appointment of a permanent Public Service Commissioner because, quite three years ago, the Government made up their minds to submit to Parliament an amending Public Service Bill. Subsequently, we received reports from the Economies Commission, which made certain recommendations, and since then a Cabinet sub-Committee has devoted a good deal of time to considering those recommendations. Our sole desire has been to bring down a measure which will provide for the most effective Public Service to be found in any country. If we have failed to do that, it is not for lack of trying. I have accepted advice from everybody.

Senator Earle - That is a very dangerous thing to do.

Senator RUSSELL - Perhaps I should have said that I have received advice from everybody, and that I have given that advice careful consideration. It was only last Thursday that I received, through the Prime Minister's Department, a long list of suggested amendments in the Bill from the Acting Public Service Commissioner's Department." I immediately called a meeting of the Cabinet sub-Committee, which sat till Friday evening at 8 o'clock, dealing with these amendments in order that we might be in a position to forward them to honorable senators in Sydney before this Chamber re-assembled. However, it took the Committee until next day to finalize the amendments, the drafting of them occupied another day, and getting them from the printer absorbed still another day and a half. It was only yesterday afternoon that I managed to place a complete list of these amendments in every honorable senator's box. I could do no more.

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