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Friday, 4 November 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - We have been told that a Minister is not able to choose even his own private secretary, but that he can exercise a power of veto, 'which, if he exhausts it sufficiently, may enable him to secure the type of assistant he desires. We have had considerable discussion and inquiry in the Senate concerning the difficulties of dealing even with junior officials, irrespective of whether they merit the positions they occupy or not. I understand that Ministers have not the power, to get rid even of their private secretaries or officers closely associated with them, whether efficient or otherwise ; and I want to raise the question of the power of a Minister or the Board to get rid of any inefficient officer. We shall enter shortly upon the consideration of clause 53, which may be regarded as the Army Act of the Public Sex-vice. It isa very long clause, providing punishments for offences, and we shall need to consider it very carefully as operating throughout the Service. The power of the Board or of the Minister to remove an inefficient permanent head should be defined when we come to consider that clause.

Amendment agreed to.

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