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Friday, 19 March 1926

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for Home and Territories) .- I move-

That the Senate do now adjourn.

I cannot now indicate the date on which the Parliament will be called together again. Present indications are that it will probably be during the first week in May, but developments in connexion with the League of Nations may necessitate an earlier reassembling.

Earlier in the sitting, Senator Duncan asked the Prime Minister, through me, the following questions with reference to temporary officers in the Commonwealth Public Service: -

1.   When will appointments he made from examination No. 1090, held in September, 1922?

2.   After successful examinees from examination No. 1090 have been absorbed, will the Government consider the question of permanently appointing temporary officers who have not passed the prescribed examination in cases where temporary appointment has exceeded two years and service has been satisfactory ?

3.   Will the Government consider the granting of compensation to all temporary officers who have passed the prescribed examination, and might be retrenched from their temporary positions to make room for excess permanent officers from the Taxation Department, as proscribed by the Income Tax Collection Act, No. 28 of 1923?

4.   Has the Public Service Board stated that the regular procedure cannot be departed from in making appointments of successful examinees in their order of merit?

5.   If so, what were the reasons for the. appointment of Mr. Robert Moore, who passed last on list No. 1090 of 1922?

6.   Is the present fortnightly payment to temporary officers £9 ls. 9d., and, if so, does the Minister consider that in the case of a married man this amount is sufficient, even though payment of child endowment Be added, and more especially where an appointee has been in a temporary position for a number of years?

7.   Will the Government consider the question of increasing the wages of temporary officers ?

I have received the following reply from the right honorable the Prime Minister : -

1.   Appointments of successful candidates arc proceeding in Queensland as vacancies occur. i n New South Wales and South Australia, appointments from the examination cannot be further proceeded with until excess officers are provided with positions.

2.   It is not considered that the circumstances warrant any departure from the established practice of filling clerical vacancies in the lower ranks of the third division by competitive examination.

3.   The cases of temporary employees in the Taxation Department were of a special nature, owing to the extensive retrenchment found to be necessary in that department. The claims of individual temporary employees in other departments forsimilar treatment do not present the same reasons for special consideration.

4.   Public Service regulations provide that the appointment of successful examinees must he made in the order in which they passed the examination.

5.   Mr. Moorewas appointed to the Department of Defence when that department was not subject to the Commonwealth Public Service Act. He became subject to that act when officers of the Department of Defence were transferred.

6.   The rate of payment of£237 per annum after six months' employment, with child endowment added, has been fixed by an arbitration determination for the Public Service.

7.   See answer to No. 6.

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