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Wednesday, 21 October 1903

Mr McDONALD (Kennedy) - I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether in the event of his continuing in office next session he will introduce a short Bill to amend the Public Service Act with the object of placing parliamentary messengers under the control of the Public Service Commissioner ?

Mr DEAKIN - That was the original proposal of the Government ; but, before committing myself to again introducing it, I should like to take advantage of the experience we have gained, with a view to ascertain if the Act requires amendment in this particular. I will undertake to do that. It may be that experience will enable us to place these officers under the control of the Public Service Commissioner, without in any way wounding the susceptibilities of Parliament.

Mr. WATSON(Bland). - I was not previously aware that the wife of one of the senior messengers in the Senate was engaged in the Public Service of the Commonwealth. I am rather surprised to learn that the wife of an officer who occupies a fairly remunerative position should be so employed. There are plenty, of widows or women whose husbands have deserted them who would be extremely glad to earn £1 a week for the purpose of maintaining their children. Of course, it is true that that has nothing whatever to do with the question which we are now considering.

Mr Fisher - But there may be other officers whose wives are employed in the service of the Commonwealth.

Motion negatived.

Motion (by Mr. Watson) put: -

That the item "President's Messenger, £204,' be reduced by the sum of £16.

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