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Friday, 4 November 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) . - I remind Senator Pratten that the Act which has been in operation since 1909 makes exactly the same provision in regard to offences. It is provided in section 46 of that Act that officers shall be liable to be dealt with by the head of the Department for being guilty of any disgraceful or improper conduct, or using intoxicating liquor to excess. Therefore, the clause we are now discussing is not an innovation. We should inquire whether the Act has been effective in maintaining the status of a body second to none in the Commonwealth, from the point of view of cost and importance.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Will you add "efficiency?"

Senator PAYNE - I need not go into that aspect. No business organization or firm throughout Australia would tolerate improper conduct on the part of its employees out of office hours, or the excessive use of intoxicating liquor. Every officer in the Public Service must recognise that he is expected to be a gentleman outside of the Service, as he must be within it. Until I am shown that the present law is oppressive I shall support the clause as printed, so far as the first portion of it goes.

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