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Wednesday, 21 October 1903

Mr DEAKIN (Ballarat) (Minister for External Affairs) . - I am not sure that in regard to this amendment the honorable member has the persons affected behind him. When the luncheon hour was fixed, their wishes were consulted. As the honorable member points out, the officers in the general division work eight and a quarter hours per day, the extra quarter of an hour being intended to make up to some extent for the Saturday halfholiday. Therefore, taking the whole six days of the week, they work something less than eight hours per day. The officers of the general division were asked by the Public Service Commissioner whether they were prepared to take more than half-an-hour- for their lunch, and to make up the extra time by working a little longer in the evening. They, however, preferred to have a half-hour for lunch and to stop work sharp at five. The Public Service Commissioner has no objection to granting three-quarters of an hourfor lunch if the officers are willing to work a little later in the evening. The matter is purely one of adjustment. No representations have been made to the Commissioner in favour of a change ; if the officers are not satisfied there will be little objection to meeting their wishes. That being the view of the Commissioner, I think that the honorable member might refrain from pressing his proposal.

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