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Wednesday, 9 November 1921

Senator SENIOR (South Australia) . - It will be noticed that in the constitution of the Appeal Board there is to be (1) a permanent chairman, (2) an officer of the Department tot which the appellant belongs, and (3) an elected representative of the division to which the appellant belongs. I think the personnel of the' Board would be improved if the third member of it were the elected representative of the organization to which the appellant belongs.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does not a division mean a division of the Public Service, and an organization something else?

Senator SENIOR - No; there is a Public Service organization of which nearly every public servant is a member. The General and Clerical Divisions are branches of the Public Service; but that does not exclude the point I am submitting.

Senator Drake-Brockman - Does the honorable senator wish to exclude a man who does not belong to the union?

Senator SENIOR - That is not what I desire.

Senator Drake-Brockman - That would be the result.

Senator SENIOR - I do not mean that. The elected representative of the Clerical Division could not in any sense represent a person who was employed in the General Division, because if such were the case the, General Division would not have a representative.

Senator Russell - Each division will elect its own representative.

Senator SENIOR - If the Minister will satisfy me that the appellant will be represented on the Board by a person conversant with the conditions under which he was working, I shall be satisfied. At present the jury to try a man will comprise at least two members in favour of the Government.

Senator Russell - The three members of the Board are to be public servants.

Senator SENIOR - The permanent chairman is chosen by the Government, and the officer of the Department to which the appellant belongs will also be a Government officer. The person appealing is the one who has committed, or is supposed to have committed, some wrong. Is he not to have one on his side? Is it necessary that all the members of the Board shall be opposed to him ?

Senator Drake-Brockman - The members of the Board are not on any one's side. Does the honorable senator desire a biased individual ?

Senator SENIOR - I do not want anything of the kind . The honorable senator knows that in all such cases both sides should be heard, because the truth does not rest solely on one side.

Senator Drake-Brockman - These are judges, not advocates.

Senator SENIOR - But is a judge less qualified because he knows both sides ?

Senator Drake-Brockman - Very often.

Senior SENIOR. - I thought it was otherwise. If the Minister will satisfy me that one member of the Board will be a person conversant with the conditions under which the appellant has been working I shall have no more to say.

Senator JOHN D MILLEN (TASMANIA) - Has the honorable senator ever known an advocate to occupy a seat on the bench?

Senator SENIOR - It is not a question of having an advocate, but of having a member of the Board conversant with the conditions under which the appellant has been working.

Senator Benny - There is a clause covering that.

Senator SENIOR - Provided that that division has elected a representative.

Senator Drake-Brockman - The clause says it must do so.

Senator SENIOR - It is often provided in an Act that certain things must be done; but the statutory obligation is not observed. I know the ground on which I am treading, and what I am advocating. I am not arguing in favour of a public servant having an advocate, but reasoning from the point of view that the Board must consider the position from other than the official side if justice is to be done.

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