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Friday, 4 November 1921

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) . - It is not the practice to penalize an officer for a technical offence, but very often a small penalty will prevent an offender from giving trouble in future. I have met a number of public officers, who, on their way to work, appeared to be quite unfit for it. Sometimes officers in very responsible positions have been seen on duty in anything but a fit condition. In one instance, an officer was unable to do his work properly for years, and he was eventually dismissed; but such cases as that are rare. The Administration deals with such men in a generous spirit, but when an officer repeatedly offends there should be some power to remove him from the Service. I recollect the case of an officer who was suspected of stealing £2,000 in notes from the Post and Telegraph Department, and was suspended. He applied for his pay, but did not receive it. He was tried three times, and the jury failed to agree. Then he was sent before the Public Service Board and was dismissed. I cannot say that he was guilty of the offence, although I had no doubt of it in my own mind. I know that the £2,000 was never returned to the Department.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - You are just as likely to have extreme cases the other way.

Senator RUSSELL - The administrative officers have some common sense.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - We know what human nature is.

Senator RUSSELL - There is always an appeal to the Board.

Sitting suspended from 1 p.m. to 2.S0 p.m.

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