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Wednesday, 13 December 1911

Senator McGREGOR - And they did not put any lining in it, they did not show much consideration for their officers. If they did put lining in it the white ants must have destroyed it. In the circumstances it is unreasonable to come here today and accuse the Federal Government, and particularly this Government, in connexion with the matter. I will tell the honorable senator what the present Government are doing. If Senators Sayers and St. Ledger had paid attention to what has been going on around them, they would know that the Postal Commission, in its report, stated that an expenditure of £2,000,000 is necessary to put the Postal Department into a state of efficiency, and that that expenditure had been rendered imperative owing to the neglect of past Governments. What have the present Ministry done? They have placed upon the Estimates for the current financial year 'one item of £600,000, and another of £700,000, for the purpose recommended by the Commission, and it is intended that a similar amount of £700,000 shall be voted next year. Queensland is a. State of the Commonwealth, and if her post-offices are in such a dilapidated condition-

Senator Sayers - I want the VicePresident of the Executive Council to give me a straightforward answer, otherwise he will not get this Bill through.

Senator McGREGOR - Some time ago an officer of the Postal Department was deputed to visit Herberton, Townsville, and other places, in order to report upon the conditions of affairs which obtained there. In his report he stated that the postal business in Herberton had declined.

Senator Sayers - When?

Senator McGREGOR - Did not the honorable senator read the letter himself? What more does he want? In regard to the complaint about the letter-carriers, I am sure that the present Ministry have done all that they can for the letter-carriers in the various States.

Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - All that the Public Service Commissioner would let them do.

Senator McGREGOR - Their influence upon the Public Service Commissioner has been of a substantial character. Not long ago their maximum pay was £i32 per annum. It ranged from £60 to £132. Then it was raised to £138, afterwards to £144, next to £150, and finally to £156 per annum. Yet honorable senators complain of the action of the Government.

Senator Lynch - Who raised it?

Senator McGREGOR - Who could raise it? The Public Service Commissioner raised it. He did so because of the additional work which the letter-carriers have to perform, and because of the increased cost of living. The Government have also given these officers the right of appeal to the Arbitration Court for the redress of any further grievances under which they may labour. Consequently, we may fairly claim that we have done something, and I may add that we intend to do more.

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