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Thursday, 7 July 1921

Senator DUNCAN - Thehonorable senator claims. that his amendment, if carried, would allaydiscontent in the Service. What discontent would be created if this privilege were taken away from the public servants?

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable senator evidently has very little confidence in his proposal if he suggests that in six months' time the provision could be repealed.

SenatorPAYNE. - If at any time we find that legislation we pass proves ineffective or unwise, surely the honorable senator would not say we are not justified in repealing it. I have not the feeling towards public servants that some honorable senators seem to display - I. may not know them as well as others do - but from my knowledge of some members of their organizations I believe that there are in our Service really conscientious men who are doing the best they can for their Departments and the State. There may be a small minority who do not give satisfaction, but that is not sufficient justification for our having no confidence in the majority. I feel sure that if the public servants were given representation on the Board of Management their representative would render valuable assistance to his fellow Commissioners, not only in suggesting economies, but also by putting forward schemes for re-organization as the outcome of practical suggestions submitted to him by those who have' known the workings of the Departments for many years.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Would the honorable senator give the temporary employees a vote?

Senator PAYNE - We can only deal with the Public Service Act as we find it. Under that Act no temporary employee is recognised as a public servant. In the circumstances, therefore, it is useless for Senator Thomas to introduce : extraneous matter.

Senator Russell - Temporary employees are recognised under the Act. There is a distinction between temporary employees and casual hands - tradesmen who are engaged from day to day. Some temporary employees are classified as officers of Departments.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Therefore, they should have representation.

Senator PAYNE - If the honorable senator feels so strongly on the point, why has he not already moved in that direction? I do not say that I would oppose any amendment he moves on those lines. It is sufficient for me to say that the matter he has introduced is extraneous.

Amendment negatived.

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