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Wednesday, 9 November 1921

Senator SENIOR (South Australia) . - I am satisfied that Senator Drake-Brockman is actuated in this matter by the purest motives, but I think the honorable senator should concede the same to me.

Senator Drake-Brockman - I do so at once.

Senator SENIOR - The Commonwealth Public Service has representatives from the Commonwealth Service Clerical Association, the Commonwealth Postmasters' Association, the Post and Telegraph Association, the Federated Assistants' Association, the Postal Linemen's Union, the Letter-carriers' Association , the General Division Telephone Officers' Association, the Postal Sorters' Union, the General Division Officers' Union (Trade and Customs Department), the Postal Electricians' Union, the Commonwealth Artisans' Association, and the Line Inspectors' Association. If a charge was laid in connexion with the work of a line inspector, would the Committee debar a representative from the Line Inspectors' Association being present at the hearing of the appeal? How would an officer, who was a representative of the Postal Sorters' Union, understand the work of a lineman ?

Senator JOHN D MILLEN (TASMANIA) - Do you mean to say that he could not weigh evidence ?

Senator SENIOR - The word "division " alone is likely to exclude an officer who would have a knowledge of the conditions under which the offence was committed.

Senator Russell - We do not debar an appellant from calling evidence in his own defence.

Senator SENIOR - Why should "division," which may exclude some, be accepted, and a representative of the organization be rejected ?

Senator Drake-Brockman - "Division " does not exclude anybody.

Senator SENIOR - I accept the argument of Senator Pratten to prove my case. The person to be. appointed under paragraph a is the permanent chairman, who is to be an officer in the Commonwealth Public Service, and is to have the qualifications of a stipendiary or police magistrate, but he is to be appointed to the position by the Board of Commissioners. Suppose he is independent. The next man is to be appointed by the officer who lays the charge; he certainly will be strongly biased. One cannot expect anything else. Will not the Committee have equal strength on the other side?

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes, or amend paragraph a.

Senator SENIOR - Either paragraph a or paragraph 6 must be amended. I do not want a biased verdict.

Senator Foll - The officer referred to in paragraph a is a, judge, pure and simple.

Senator SENIOR - Yes. What' I am asking for is not the elimination of " division," but the addition of the words "or organization." I think it will be admitted that my claim has something to commend it. I am not looking at the position having in mind the Ministers now in office; we have to legislate for years to come. I know how easy it has been under the present Act to prevent an officer from having a chance to defend himself, and I am glad that a charge must now be made in writing.

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