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Friday, 8 December 1911

Senator ST LEDGER (Queensland) . - I have never heard of any portion of the Public Service which desires the settlement of its claims to be transferred from Parliament to the Arbitration Court. I have a lively recollection of a deputation, composed of. members of all the lower grades of the Public Service, which waited upon me in Brisbane some time ago. That deputation laid its grievances before me, and we discussed them very thoroughly. Some of the points which were then raised have since been favorably considered by, the Minister, but others have' not. One of the grievances of these men was in regard to their salaries. That grievance has since been remedied. The other point which they raised had reference to the Public Service Act and the Public Service Commissioner. To the honour of that deputation be it said, its members quite recognised that the Commissioner was faithfully discharging his duty to this Parliament. One of the great grievances urged by these men was that, in matters of appeal in regard to fines or punishment, the Appeal Court under the Public Service Act was not properly constituted. They made it perfectly clear that under that Act the right of appeal which they enjoy is merely an appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober. Everywhere that I have come into contact with public servants - and I see no reason why they should not approach members of Parliament-

Senator de Largie -The Public Service Act forbids them to do so.

Senator ST LEDGER - If the Public Service Act forbids that sort of thing it is nothing short of tyranny. But, as a mat ter of fact, that Act provides that no member of the Public Service shall approach a member of Parliament with a view to exerting political influence.

Senator de Largie - What other influence can a member of Parliament exercise?'

Senator ST LEDGER - Suppose that a public servant thinks that he has not been properly treated, and puts his case beforean honorable senator. Does the PublicService Act prevent that honorable senator from making representations to the Min- . ister ?

Progress reported.

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