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Friday, 4 November 1921

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (Western Australia) . - I should like to be shown, in this clause or any other, where it is provided that persons appointed by Cabinet as heads of Departments must be selected from within the Service. I do not know that there is such specific provision - whether, for example, it is set out in clause 46 - but, if the Bill does so provide, I desire to amend it. I should like to have it made perfectly clear that the Government shall have, and continue to possess, an absolutely free hand in appointing heads of Departments. Departmental efficiency depends in a very great measure upon the ability and character of the permanent head.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I understand that the provisions of clause 46 are not held to apply to the appointments of permanent heads.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - I am glad to know that: and, if the position is not perfectly clear, itshould be made so. If a permanent 'head makes a muddle of his Department, the responsible Minister must shoulder the public blame, and rightly so. But that would not be the case if the Minister had not some voice in the selection of his permament heads.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Would the honorable senator tolerate the practice of every incoming Minister dispensing with the services of the previous permanent head and appointing a man of his own?

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