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Friday, 8 July 1921

Senator FAIRBAIRN (Victoria) . - I give Senator Elliott credit for good intentions in regard to his amendment, but we know that the road to a certain place is paved with those intentions. T entirely agree with what Ministers have said, to the effect that both Parliament and Ministers have quite enough to do at the present time. The Board proposed to be appointed is intended to insure economical administration in our Public. Service. Senator Elliott has said that under the Government proposal the presumption is that the Board will be composed of utter fools; but it seems to me that his amendment presupposes that the Minister himself will be a fool. The position is that the Minister will know that the public are behind the Board which it. to be constituted under this Bill, and he is, therefore, not likely to disagree with its recommendations lightly. He will disagree with' them only when he has a really good, strong case. Should such a disagreement occur, he knows that the fact will be given a place in the annual report of the Board. Senator Thomas has stated that nobody ever reads this class of reports. I do not agree with him.

Senator Russell - Perhaps he was speaking only for himself.

Senator FAIRBAIRN - Any disagreement between the Board and the Minister, I repeat, will find a place in the annual report of the Board, but the news of it will leak out long before that report is submitted' to Parliament.

Senator Pearce - Under the Government proposal the Board will have power to make a special report at any time.

Senator FAIRBAIRN - Then I do not need to say any more upon the matter.

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