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Thursday, 3 November 1921

Senator KEATING (Tasmania) . - I should like to say that I thank the Minister (Senator Russell) sincerely for the course he has expressed his intention to take. He has indicated that the Government are fully in accordance with the sentiments I have expressed, and I think that honorable senators generally are agreed that recognition should be given to returned men in connexion with these as in connexion with other positions in the Commonwealth Service. I am not quite sure whether these wireless operators are employees of the Commonwealth or of the organization or body that has contracted with the Commonwealth for the supply of wireless services for Commonwealth vessels. Whatever the position is, I think the Minister is well advised in taking the course he proposes, and I have risen now merely to acknowledge his courtesy and to thank him for his promise to give attention to the matters I have submitted.

Proposed new clause postponed.

Clause 47 agreed to.

Clause 48 -

(1)   Whenever a vacancy occurs in any office other than in the FirstDivision, and it is expedient to fill that vacancy by the promotion of an officer, the Chief Officer may, subject to the provisions of this Act, promote an officer of his Department to All such vacancy, consideration being givenfirst to the relative efficiency, and in the event of an equality of efficiency of two or more officers, then to the relative seniority of the officers of that Department.

(2)   If the Chief Officer is of opinion that it is expedient in the public interest to fill any vacant office, other thanin the First Division, in his Department by the promotion of an officer from another Department, he shall so advise the Board.

(3)   Thereupon the Board may, after considering the claims of all applicants for the vacant office, promote thereto the officer who, in the opinion of the Board, is relatively the most efficient, or, in the event of an equality of efficiency among the most efficient, is the senior.

(4)   In this section "efficiency" means special qualifications and aptitude for the discharge of the duties of the office to be filled, together with merit and good and diligent conduct, and, in the case of an officer who is a returned soldier, includes such efficiency as, in the opinion of the Chief Officer or the Board, as the case may be, he would have attained but for his absence on active naval or military service.

(5)   Any promotion made in pursuance of this section shall be provisional, and shall be notified in the prescribedmanner, and shall be subject to the right of appeal, in such manner and within such time as are prescribed, by any officer who considers that he is more entitled to promotion for the vacant office than the officer provisionally promoted, on the ground of -

(a)   superior efficiency, or

(b)   equal efficiency, and seniority.

(6)   Any appeal under this section shall be forwarded by the Chief Officer with a report to the Board.

(7)   On receipt of the appeal the Board shall make full inquiry into the claims of the appellant and those of the officer provisionally promoted, and shall determine the appeal.

(8)   Where any appeal is upheld by the Board, it shall promote the appellant officer to the vacant office, and cancel the provisional promotion :

Provided that, in the case of promotions in or to the Second Division, the Minister may, if he thinks fit, refer the matter to the GovernorGeneral, who may confirm or disallow the determination of the Board.

(9)   Where any appeal has been disallowed by the Governor-General, a statement of the reasons for disallowance shall be laid before both Houses of the Parliament within thirty days of the receipt of the determination of the Board, if the Parliament is then sitting, and, if not, then within fourteen days of the next meeting of the Parliament.

(10)   Where an appeal is disallowed in pursuance of this section, or no appeal is lodged within the prescribed time, the provisional promotion shall be confirmed by the Chief Officer.

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