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Tuesday, 27 September 1904

Mr MAHON (Coolgardie) - Before the Bill passes, I hope the Ministry will be able to inform the House what is proposed to be done with the classification scheme of the Public Service Commissioner. In some cases the Public Service Commissioner has increased the salaries paid to officials, has transferred others from one grade to another, and in other cases removals are arranged for. I believe that, certain post-offices have also been classified into various grades. I should like to know how soon the recommendations will be given- effect to, and whether the Government propose to give the House an early opportunity to discuss the classification scheme. In Western Australia the post-offices have all been graded on some plan of which I have never been able to find the principle. I do not agree with the grading there, and I think we should have an early opportunity of considering the whole matter. I hope the Treasurer will tell the Committee whether it is proposed to pay salaries, where there are increases according to the Commissioner's grading, from the date on which his report was laid on the table of the House. I believe it is the anticipation of a large number of public servants that they will receive the increases proposed from the time the report was tabled. I do not wish to say anything concerning the complaints as to telephone and postal facilities, except to express surprise at the remarks of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, who was whip of the Government which passed the Post and Telegraph Act, and who advocated the section of the Act which compels the Postmaster-General to consider whether any new facilities asked for will pay their way.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member was merely indulging in an exercise of Yes-No.

Mr MAHON - I remember distinctly that the honorable member for Parramatta did question the wisdom of that provision when the Bill was going through Committee, but I have no recollection that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro ever said a word against it. The honorable member was the Government whip at the time, and did his utmost to carry the measure as submitted by the Ministry of the day. It is rather late now for the honorable member to come to this House and complain of the officials of the Department for carrying out the law as they find it. The honorable member has not been consistent, except in his inconsistencies, and possibly we may accept his action in this case as being consistent with what has gone before.

Mr Austin Chapman - Will the honorable member tell us about his threat about the galvanized iron, and what he was going to do?

Mr MAHON - I did not catch what the honorable member said; but if he requires any information from me I shall be able to give him some about the number of futile and unreasonable applications which he has made to the Department since' he has been a member of the Federal Parliament. I have some information for the honorable member on that subject 'whenever he desires it, and in all friendliness I advise him to keep very quiet as to his transactions with the Postal Department. I hope the Government will be able to tell us something about the Public Service Commissioner's classification scheme, the grading of the public servants, and also of various post offices.

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