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Thursday, 1 August 1912

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - I would like a little more information from the Minister as to why he desires the omission of these words. It seems to me that he wishes to secure for the administration of this Bill purely Ministerial control, without the advice, or even the acquiescence of the executive head of the Department. At present we have at the head of the Quarantine Department one of the most experienced men in the Commonwealth. He is charged with the important work of watching closely all matters relating to quarantine and practically of recommending the location of temporary quarantine stations. The Minister proposes, by his amendment, to strike out of existence the important executive head of the Department, so that the Minister himself will have a free, choice in the location of any quarantine station. In such circumstances a quarantine station might be erected at a spot recommended by a local resident, or some uninfluential and inexperienced authority. I can imagine cases arising in which it would be very necessary to seek the advice of the Director of Quarantine in the matter of where a quarantine station should be- located. But, by this amendment, it is proposed to disregard Dr. Norris, and to .give the Minister absolute control. That is rather a high-handed action to take. I am not at all satisfied with what the Minister is doing. We have appointed a Director of Quarantine at a very high salary, although I do not suppose that it is too high having regard to his qualifications. But, having selected a gentleman of his standing, he should be the eyes and ears of the Minister for the time being, and on every occasion he should be consulted as the Minister's guide and director. 1 await a more complete explanation as to why these words should be omitted.

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