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Friday, 3 June 1904
Friday, 3 June 1904

Mr.Speaker took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.


Sir. JOHNFORREST. - Has the Prims Minister noticed the statement in this morning's newspaper, that the PostmasterGeneral has written a minute in regard to the use of military titles by officials of his Department. The newspaper statement is this: -

The Postmaster-General wrote a minute, is which nc pointed out that " The functions of this

Department being purely civil, no recognition of any kind can be given to military titles." He ordered instructions to be issued at once to this effect to the Deputy PostmasterGeneral. Mr. Mahon added to his minutes . 111 intimation that he had noted Mr. Outtrim's supposition that " officers can claim to use their titles at all times " ; but pointed out that the issue was not a " claim to use " their titles themselves, but their right to require other officers to recognise and use such titles in conversation and ' written communications. " Of course," wrote the Postmaster-General, " the men had no such right."

Is the action of the Postmaster-General to be taken as the action of the Government? If so, by what right or authority do the Government interfere with the use of military designations to which officers are entitled by law?

Mr. WATSON.- I have only seen the statement which the honorable member has read ; I have not had any communication with my colleague on the subject. Speaking without further information, I think that the action he has taken is quite justifiable. I am not informed as to the legal right of officials to be addressed by their military titles, but I shall consult the AttorneyGeneral upon the subject.

Sir JOHNFORREST.- I will give notice of the question. I take my stand oh the law.

Mr. WATSON.-It would be better if the right honorable member would give notice. According to the newspaper account, the decision of the PostmasterGeneral is reinforced by the opinions of his permanent officials.

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