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Thursday, 23 November 1905
Thursday, 23 November 1905

The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.


Conviction of an Officer.

Senator STEWART.- I desire to ask the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, without notice, the following questions : -

1. Is it the case that an officer of the General Division, Post and Telegraph Department, Brisbane, was convicted of larceny in February last, or some time during the present year, and sentenced to six months' imprisonment - sentence being suspended under the First Offenders Probation Act?

2. If so, on what date was he sentenced?

3. Was he under suspension at date of conviction; if not, on what date was he suspended?

4. Washe dismissed on conviction ; if not, why not?

5. On what date was he dismissed ?

6. Was he on duty at any period between the dates of conviction and dismissal ; and, if so, for how long?

7. Were any payments made to him after conviction ; and, if so, what were the amounts ?

8. For what reason were these payments made ?

Senator KEATING.- Last week I asked the honorable senator to defer the asking of these questions until the information had been supplied to the Department. The answers are as follow : -

1. Yes.

2. 14th February, 1905.

3. He was not under suspension when convicted, but was suspended on 26th June, 1905.

4. No. Because summary conviction was not deemed to entail forfeiture of office.

5. 3rd August, 1905.

6. No. 7.£83 5s. 3d. was paid to him in September, 1905, as salary from 27th January, 1905, to 26th June, 1905.

8. Because a claim was made for payment of salary, and the Department was advised thathe was legally entitled to be paid to the date of his suspension.

Senator DOBSON.- Arising out of that reply, I desire to ask whether it is a fact that the summary conviction of a public officer for larceny does not entail the forfeiture of office?

Senator KEATING.- I am not in a position to say whether it does or does not. I would refer the honorable and learned senator to the answer given to the fourth question. I do not know whether there has' been a reversal of the opinion which was then held.

Senator Dobson.- The sooner the law is altered the better, I should think.

Senator Stewart.- The man got£80 for doing nothing ! It is a scandal.


Senator HIGGS.-I desire to ask the leader of the Senate, without notice, whether he will be good enough to ascertain what is the view of the Prime Minister concerning the case of the six typists employed on Hansard before the Estimates are considered in Committee?

The PRESIDENT.- I would point out to the honorable senator that under the Public Service Act these typists are under the control of the President and Speaker.

Senator HIGGS.- Will you, sir, inform the Senate what the Prime Minister's view is?

The PRESIDENT.-Ido not know what the Prime Minister's view is, but I know what the opinion of the President and Speaker is, and that is that no alteration in the present system ought to be made.


Senator HIGGS.- I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether he has observed that, in replying to my inquiries yesterday, he did not furnish answers to the following question: -

1. The names of the members of the British New Guinea Executive Council?

2. The names of the members of the British New Guinea Executive Council who were present at the meeting at which Mr. Richmond's suspension was confirmed ?

3. Were the members of the Council unanimous in confirming the suspension of Mr. Richmond?

4. On what date were the papers in connexion with Mr. Richmond's case submitted by the Federal Government to a Board of Inquiry?

5. When does the Executive expect to receive a report? .

6. As this matter concerns the administration of British New Guinea, will the Government endeavour to obtain a report from the Board before asking the Senate to pass the New Guinea Estimates?

Senator PLAYFORD.- I believe that I gave a general reply, in which it was stated that this matter is sub judice. I gave the names of the persons composing the Board to which the case has been referred for trial. I did not answer the other questions specifically, because the matter was being inquired into; but if the honorable senator desires to get that information, it will be furnished, if he gives notice of the questions, unless some good reason to the contrary is given by the Department.

Senator HIGGS.- I beg to give notice of the question.

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