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Thursday, 21 July 1921

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) . - I hope that the Committee will not seriously consider the amendment. We ought to be particularly careful to avoid even the suspicion that any recom mendations by the proposed Board are based upon political grounds.

Senator Benny - Why, the Tariff itself has to be altered by politicians.

Senator RUSSELL - But they are elected for that purpose upon direct party issues. Surely we do not wish to bring politicians into our administrative Departments. If we have a political Board, both parties will require to be represented upon it, as well as both Houses. Consequently, I can see chaos developing. No Department would be safe - especially a big Department like that of the Trade and Customs Department - if the suspicion were engendered that men were elected to the proposed Board because of their political views. Honorable senators do not mean to tell me that we should not have the Labour party asking for half the representation upon it.

Senator Duncan - The dominating party is responsible for the administration of our Departments.

Senator RUSSELL - If politicians were appointed to the Board, its services - would not be continuous. Probably changes in its personnel would take place every time there was a change of Government. Yet what we urgently require is steady, careful administration of our Commonwealth Departments.

Senator Benny - We change the personnel of our Standing Committees after the election of every new Parliament.

Senator RUSSELL - That is so; and the people sometimes change their political influence. Whilst I do not think that a politician should be debarred from appointment to the Board any more than should any other individual, such a practice would create a suspicion that would be injurious to our public life.

Senator Bolton - The greatest safe- guards we have to-day are to he found in our Standing Committees.

Senator RUSSELL - I trust that the amendment, as amended, will not be carried.

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