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Wednesday, 2 November 1904

Mr WEBSTER (Gwydir) - I desire to know whether any provision is made on the Estimates for the payment of the Commissioners who are to be appointed to redistribute the electorates?

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The salary of the Commonwealth Electoral Officer for

Tasmania has been provided for under the head of the Electoral Department, and his duties are enumerated in order to indicate that he performs other work. In Tasmania the duties which have to be performed in connexion with the Public Works Department are so limited that, although a capable officer is required, a large portion of his time can be devoted to other work. The officer in question is a particularly capable man, and it has been found desirable to employ him to discharge very important duties.

Mr Page - The point is, why is the whole of his salary charged to the Electoral Department ?

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - This item appeared in previous Estimates, presumably because it was considered desirable to provide fort he officer's salary under one head, rather than under several. I have already raised the question suggested by the honorable member for Maranoa, and if a change can be made with advantage it will be effected.

Mr McDonald - Is the whole of the salary charged to the Electoral Department?


Mr McDonald - We must amend the item, then.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I would point out to the honorable member that the salaries of a number of other officers whose time is in some degree taken up with work connected with the Electoral Department - for instance, the Secretary to the Department of Home Affairs - are not made the subject of any charge to the Department. Similarly, although not to the same extent, officers of the Electoral Department perform work for other Departments.

Mr McDonald - Can the Minister point to any case in which an officer of another Department performs work directly for the Electoral Department without any charge to the latter? .

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes, there is the case of Mr. Woodyatt, which has already been mentioned. I repeat that I have already raised this question, and that we shall consider, before the next Estimates are prepared, whether some alteration should be made so that the salary of the officer in question can be apportioned among the various Departments for which he performs work. In reply to the honorable member for Gwydir, I desire to say that provision is made under Division 24 for the remuneration to be paid to the Commissioners who are to be appointed to redistribute the electorates.

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