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Wednesday, 9 November 1921

Senator FOLL (Queensland) .- It is generally understood that the employees' representative upon an Appeal Board has been elected specifically to look after the interests of employees. The latter certainly expect as much from him. I was once acting as secretary to the Queensland Railways Appeal Board, which consisted of three members. The chairman, however, was an outsider. It would be beneficial to the Commonwealth Public Service if the chairman of the proposed Board was also an outsider. In the Queensland Railways Board the chairman was a police magistrate; the other members were the head of the Department immediately concerned, and a person directly elected by the employees themselves. Appeals would generally be heard in a Police Court. After hearing evidence, the Board would retire to discuss the case. Comments, each from his own point of view, would be offered by the head of the Department and the employees' representative, to which the chairman would carefully listen. Generally - unless, of course, the case was an obviously bad one - the appellant would gain some benefit from having gone before the Board ; and, naturally, it was popular with the railway service. I think it may be said of Appeal Boards, as a whole, that they are worth stating one's case before.

Senator JOHN D MILLEN (TASMANIA) - Especially if one can fix the bench.

Senator de Largie - These Boards may be relied on to temper justice with mercy.

Senator Drake-Brockman - The hope of appellants being, of course, that there will be shown rather more mercy than justice.

SenatorFOLL. - At any rate, the Queensland Board got plenty of work. Incidentally, I had a few enjoyable trips out of my duties connected with it; and, altogether, everybody seemed satisfied.

Senator Russell - Does the honorable senator suggest that the chairman of the proposed Board should be an outsider?

SenatorFOLL. - Yes; and I am prepared either to support Senator Senior or to move, by way of an amendment, in that direction myself. The ideal Board would comprise a chairman from outside the Service, who would be uninfluenced, therefore, by years spent in public Departments; a. member of the Service, who would be familiar with conditions of employment and the like; and a specific representative of departmental interests.

Senator Russell - I propose to recommit clause 7 to provide that the chairman shall not be included among those to whom the exemptions are to apply. The effect will be to make the chairman of the Board a member of the Public Service. I have sounded the Public Service upon the personnel of the Appeal Board. Indeed, I suggested the name of an officer in the AttorneyGeneral's Department, and the proposition was received with pleasure; so that I feel confident that the Service will welcome the appointment of a Board consisting entirely of members drawn from the Service.

SenatorFOLL. - I do not suggest that there may not be hundreds of men in the Service qualified to fill the position; but, in the interests of the Service, and of the Government, it would be well if the chairman were selected from outside. I do not want to suggest that there are not men in the Civil Service who are capable of taking the position. My object is to secure an ideal Appeal Board, and that object, I think, can only be achieved in the way that I have indicated. To save time, and to assist the Minister in securing the passage of the Bill, I move -

That in sub-clause (5), paragraph (a), the following words be left out, " shall be an officer of the Commonwealth Service and ".

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