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Tuesday, 2 August 1904

Mr MAHON (COOLGARDIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Postmaster-General) - A substantial though not a very large number of traders have complained to the Department of the difficulty which they experience in inducing public servants to meet their obligations. In several cases, judgments have been recorded, and execution levied, against Federal officers ; but the creditors have been un- able even by that means to secure payment of their accounts. The matter has been under the consideration of the Public Service Commissioner, who is of opinion that the Public Service Act gives no remedy to a creditor unless the debt is sufficiently large to allow him to sequestrate his debtor's estate; but, in my view, misconduct of the kind complained of can be dealt with under section 46 of the Act, "the public servant being guilty of improper conduct in allowing himself to be dunned by creditors during office hours. I- have asked the Deputy PostmastersGeneral of the various States to invite the officers against whom complaints have been lodged to make a statement of their defence. When such statements have been received, further action will be taken.

Mr R EDWARDS (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - In the case of Palmer v. Withers, although the plaintiff obtained a judgment against his debtor, a Federal public official, the judgment still remains unsatisfied. That case has been brought under the notice of both the present Postmaster-General and his predecessor, and I ask, therefore, if he has any objection to laying on the table an abstract of the papers referring to it

Mr MAHON - Speaking from memory, a judgment was recorded against the defendant in the case mentioned, and remains unsatisfied; but the matter is still pending. When a final' decision is arrived at, I shall have no objection to . laying on the table an abstract of the papers.

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