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Wednesday, 6 July 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- Speaking to the amendment of Senator Thomas, the whole question resolves itself into one of whether the Commonwealth Service, as at present controlled, is satisfactory to the; taxpayers of the Commonwealth. Personally, I do not think it is, and I believe the majority of public men in Australia consider that a very marked improvement is necessary before those who have to find the money to conduct the Service are likely to be satisfied. The Minister in charge of the Bill has clearly expressed his views.

Senator Russell - I did not wish to attack individuals who are compelled to work an overloaded! machine.

Senator. PAYNEdo not intend doing that; but I think it must be patent to every one who watches the progress of various Departments that more effective organization and better control would be the means of producing better returns. The Service has been under the control of a Public Service Commissioner or an Acting Commissioner for many years, and the Government are justified in introducing a. proposal which they believe will be an improvement on what we have had in the past. If the proposed Board does not do all we desire, I believe it will be the means of improving the Service in many directions, particularly if the Public Service has a representative on the Board. I listened with interest to the remarks of Senator J. D. Millen, and I trust that the day will arrive when his desires will be gratified. Although his suggestions are very useful for future consideration, we have to act immediately if we desire to improve the Service, and that could not be done if we adopted the honorable senator's suggestion. At the entrance to this building a visitor is at once confronted with these wise words, " In the multitude of counsellors there is safety."

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is also said, that " Too many cooks spoil the broth."

Senator PAYNE - But those words are not found in legislative halls. The duties of the Commissioners are clearly defined in the Bill, and if we pass the clause with the amendment I propose moving, I believe that great improvements will be effected. If Senator J. D. Millen's suggestions were carried out it would necessitate placing our Public Service legislation in the melting-pot and dispensing entirely with the present classification scheme.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Let the classification schemego.

Senator PAYNE - We cannot do that at this juncture. In the measure before us we are asked to provide those who have to carry on the Public Service with more up-to-date machinery than we have at present, and that provided in this Pill should be more effective than that which it is to repeal. I support the clause and oppose the amendment moved by Senator Thomas.

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