Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Thursday, 31 July 1902

Mr KIRWAN (Kalgoorlie) - The honorable member for Coolgardie referred to a matter of considerable importance to Western Australia and South Australia - the appointment of inspectors under the Public Service Act - which the Acting Prime Minister has evidently overlooked.

Mr Deakin - I thought that my honorable colleague, the Minister for Home Affairs, would deal with it.

Mr KIRWAN - I am sure we shall be glad to hear what the Minister for Home Affairs has to say on the matter. Under the Public Service Act, six inspectors - one for each State - can be appointed. So far, only four have been selected, and one is required to do the work of South Australia and Western Australia. Any one who knows anything about the public service of Western Australia must be aware that there is quite sufficient work for one man to do in connexion with it, and it is absurd to expect one man, no matter how able or energetic he may be, to deal with the service in the two States.

Mr Deakin - Perhaps I may save time by informing the honorable member that the existing staff of inspectors, while sufficient for the present, is not to be considered as being necessarily complete. The officers appointed are able to do the preliminary work now undertaken, but it is quite possible that an additional inspector will be required to deal with the public service of the State which the honorable member mentions. That has been recognised from the first.

Mr KIRWAN - I would impress upon the Acting Prime Minister the necessity for immediate action in connexion with the public service of Western Australia, and more especially in regard to. the administration of thePost and Telegraph department of that State. I can assure the Ministry that there is a universal feeling of dissatisfaction in regard to the service, and I might speak for some time on the grievances of the public, which I learned on my recent visit to Western Australia. There is no part . of the Commonwealth where the service needs so much attention and requires it at such an early date as in Western Australia. Therefore I wish to protest against one inspector being expected to do the work for the two States. When the officers were being appointed some honorable members from Western Australia thought it might be advisable that an inspector from one of the other States should be appointed for Western Australia, so that he might be unbiased and free from the prejudices which might attach to a local officer. My idea is that that principle should apply not only to Western Australia, but to the Commonwealth generally. If, for example, an officer from Tasmania or Queensland were appointed as inspector for Victoria, South Australia, or New South Wales, he would be absolutely free from the cliqueism or influences which might arise if he were connected with the local service, and that would apply to the case of Western Australia. I think it would be better to appoint an inspector from one of the other States, so that he might set to work with an absolutely open mind. At the same time I should like it to be clearly understood that there are good men in the service of Western Australia, who ought not to be debarred from appointment. But if an officer is taken from theservice in Western Australia he should be appointed an inspector for another State, where he would be quite apart from those with whom he had been associated for many years. Considerable disappointment is felt in Western Australia, and I have heard some remarks in regard to the appointment of one inspector for Victoria and Tasmania. It takes four days to travel from Adelaide to Perth, and if much travelling be necessary, it will involve a great loss of time. I hope that at an early date an inspector will be appointed to deal solely with the service in Western Australia. If an officer is appointed for that State alone, and does his duty conscientiously, his position will be no sinecure. He will have plenty to do for some time to come.

Suggest corrections