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Friday, 25 November 1910

Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) . - I should like to direct attention to a matter of which some serious notice should be taken. On the 12th March this year a position was advertised by the Public Service Commissioner in class D of the Electrical Engineering Branch, at the Post Office, at a salary of ^310 to ,£400. There were four applicants ; but, after the applications had been lodged, the advertisement was for some reason quite unknown practically withdrawn. Subsequently, on 19th April, the position was put in lower class E, and one of the applicants, Mr. L. P. Bean, a young Australian, was given the post. He has carried on the work, and proved himself to be thoroughly qualified ; and yet he is only paid £235. He has secured all the certificates possible within Australia, and has proved himself capable of rising from the lowest rung of the ladder. It seems to me that if an American or Englishman had applied in the first instance an appointment would have been made ; but the four applicants were never given an opportunity of proving their fitness by examination. If the young man appointed was competent for the position he should have been afforded an opportunity of proving the fact ; and, if not, he ought not to have been appointed. In any case, a man, because he is young or an Australian, should not be asked to do the work at a lower salary.' In the absence of any complete answer to this case, it would appear that Australians are not so welcome in some of the Departments as they ought to be. Our policy should be to promote Australians of merit. Iri this case an Australian has shown merit which has not been equalled in the Department, and the mere fact that he is young should not bar him from obtaining a higher position. I understand that he entered the Post Office as an instrument litter at £110 a year, and rose, practically like a star, to a salary of £235. He is willing to submit himself to any examination for the position advertised at a salary °f j£,3]0' The fact that his rise has been r;'pid is no reason for barring an Australian with true merit. I hope that the Ministry will carefully investigate the case and instruct the Public Service Commissioner, or other departmental officers, that no Australian who possesses the necessary merit shall be barred from any office, provided that he has passed the requisite examination, and is up to the departmental standard.

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