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Friday, 25 November 1910

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - I observe a vote of £"350 for the Secretary to the High Commissioner in London. Some time ago I drew attention to the fact that the High Commissioner had appointed to be his private secretary a gentleman in London, without attempting to secure the services of one who had an intimate knowledge of the Commonwealth. I wish to ask the Government whether, in connexion with future appointments to the High Commissioner's office, a preference will be given to Australian applicants? I do not deny that the private secretary appointed is an able officer and an estimable gentleman. But the High Commissioner ought to be representative of Australian sentiment, and when we cannot find in Australia a man who is qualified to fill any position in the Commonwealth service in England, it will be time enough' to choose an applicant elsewhere. Upon a former occasion I also referred to the fact that the High Commissioner has dabbled in party politics. I ask the Government to point out to him that he must not do so.

Senator Walker - When has he done so?

Senator NEEDHAM - The files of the London Times contain the report of an interview between the High Commissioner and a representative of that journal, in which the former says that the Commonwealth Labour party is desirous of wresting from the States their sovereign rights. He also declared that the Fusion party desired to preserve those rights. In my judgment, the High Commissioner should be entirely independent of any party. If he does not know that he ought to be above all parties, he ought to be told that in the future, when he grants interviews to the press, he should be careful in his choice of language.

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