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Friday, 26 September 1902

Mr A PATERSON (Capricornia) - I heartily support the amendment suggested by the honorable member for Kennedy. When it is considered that the Ministerial salaries amount to £15,000, it will be admitted that they are very liberally treated, and I think it is altogether too mean and too Scotch for them to say that they will not put their hands into their pockets to pay the expenses of honorary Ministers incurred in the performance of duties which they should perform themselves. The country should certainly not be asked to support any such charge.

Mr. MAHON(Coolgardie).- To bring this discussion to an issue, I move -

That the item, " Clerk £325," be omitted. The Acting Prime Minister has spoken in the highest terms of this officer.

Mr Deakin - We shall not get rid of him by omitting this item.

Mr MAHON - I am just going to point out a vacancy which he might be called upon to fill. The Acting Prime Minister has given this officer a very high testimonial.

Mr Deakin - For the duties which he has to perform.

Mr MAHON - And of course for other duties for which it may be found that he is equally capable if he is given a trial. I believe this officer comes from New South Wales, and that he was there regarded as a capable man. From what I have heard, I am inclined to indorse the high character given him by the . Acting Prime Minister, and I point out that if we omit this item, although there will be no clerk at £325, there will be nothing to prevent the Government saying to this officer, "Here is another position, that of Secretary to the' Federal Executive Council. The salary is a little higher than that which you have been receiving, but we presume you will have no objection to promotion."

Mr Deakin - He is not fit for that office.

Mr MAHON - If he is the capable man he is represented to be by the honorable gentleman, and by other honorable members who have spoken concerning him, there can be no reason why his promotion should be delayed. I have no desire to interpose between the Government and 45 v their administration of so small a department as this, but now that we are out for economy a saving of £325 a year in a small department is not to be despised, especially when it can be effected by the promotion of a worthy and capable man. The Acting Prime Minister says that this officer is capable only for the discharge of the duties he is at present called upon to perform, but I say that he may prove himself equallycapable in the performance of the higher duties of Secretary to the Executive Council. Probably the man himself does not know what an excellent officer he would make as Secretary to the Executive Council at £600 a year, as I am sure that the spur of the additional emolument would induce him to put forward his best efforts to give satisfaction.

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