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Wednesday, 9 November 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - The Minister's reply to Senator Payne seems to me a fair one. I understood him to say that provided no extra expense is involved there will be no objection to letting an appellant have a copy of the evidence taken in connexion with these appeals at a convenient time. But the Public Service Associations have asked for something more than that. They have 'asked that it be obligatory on the part of the Appeal Board to supply the appellant with a copy of the evidence taken from day to day. I can conceive of many circumstances which might make that extremely inconvenient and costly, whilst in nine cases out of ten it might be unnecessary. Sub-clause 1 gives the appellant the right to be represented by counsel, attorney, or agent, and that reasonably protects his interests. If, as the Minister says, what the Public Service organizations desire is not done in any Court but the Arbitration Courts, I cannot by my vote place an appeal against a conviction for some misdemeanour in the Public Service on the same plane as proceedings in the Arbitration Courts. I think the Minister made a fair reply to Senator Payne, and with it I shall at present rest content.

Senator SENIOR(South Australia) T5.421. - We have dealt in clause 53 with an Appeal Board for the trial of appeals from officers other than those in the first and second divisions. In clause 54 we have dealt with officers of the first and second divisions. We are dealing in the clause now under consideration with a Board of Inquiry, which, I assume, is entirely different from the Board of Appeal provided for in clause 53. The Minister is to nominate members of a Board of Inquiry which is to consist of three members. I want to know whether this Board is to inquire in order to report to the Appeal Board, or whether it is to report to the Board of Commissioners.

Senator Russell - Where a charge is made against an officer a Board of Inquiry hears the case and reports to the Governor-General in Council, which is really the Minister, and he must bear the responsibility for any action taken on the report.

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