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Friday, 8 July 1921

Senator FOSTER (Tasmania) . - Is not this a departure from the established practice in the Public Service under which the services of an officer cannot be dispensed with unless the position has been declared vacant? An office could be abolished, and the officer would have to go; but under this provision - while it meets with my, support up to' a certain point - any officer in any Department might be pushed out by men being placed in that particular Department to create an excess of officers, it would not be a difficult matter for a number of junior officers to be placed in a Department, and then a particular officer to be informed that, as there was an excess of officers, his services were no longer required. While I do -not think we should retain the services of inefficient men, I do not wish the Board to have the right to exercise authority at the instigation of the head of a Department. ' Under this provision, an excess of officers could be deliberately brought about. All public servants are not angels, and as personal feeling has existed in the past, provision should be made for the last man to be appointed to be the first to be dismissed.

SenatorRUSSELL (Victoria- VicePresident of the Executive Council) [12.33]. - Section 41 of the existing Act reads -

The Governor-General may, on the recommendation of the Commissioner, after obtaining a report from the permanent head -

(a)   create a new office in any Division in any Department; or

(b)   abolish any office in any Department; or

(c)   raise or lower the classification or grading of any office the duties of which have been materially changed; or

(d)   with the consent of any officer, transfer or promote him, from any one Division to any other Division, and, in the case of transfer or promotion from the General to the Clerical Division, after such examination . as may be prescribed.

Nothing couldbe done until the office was abolished;, but under 'this amendment it must depend upon, the administration. An officer in a Department may quarrel with the head of that Department, who may be glad to take the opportunity of dispensing with his services ; but his recommendation would have to go before the Board. Members of the Board will be quite impartial, and will have no personal knowledge of 30,000 public servants. They will decide the. issue on its merits. I do not think any one would suggest that efficient ' officers of good character would be dispensed with while less capable men were retained.

Proposed newclause agreed to. .

Clause 19 - (2). The Board shall, in the month of . August in each year, forward to the GovernorGeneral, and publish in the Gazette, a list of all officers in the Commonwealth Service on the30th day of June in that year, together with the particulars so recorded with regard to the service of each officer.

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