There has been a lot of talk about patronage to-night directed at this Bill, but it has not hit at the mairk at all. The patronage which is objected to is not the few appointments made by the member. I have been in control of the patronage in my constituency for four or five years, and I don't think I secured appointments for more than one person each year to post offices and so on, and there never has been a complaint against one of them, although I turned down dozens and dozens of men. That is not what the people are kicking so much about to-day, but rather at the matter of letting contracts to friends at exorbitant prices with the object of having some of the money turned back to the party funds. I do not see anything in this Bill to remedy that state of affairs. That is the big thing the people mean by " patronage," and not the few appointments made here and theie by members. When there is an appointment to be made of a postmaster in some rural constituency, who knows better than the member where that post office should he situated if a new post office is to bb opened up? I think that members*, with the majority they have behind them this year, and the independence which characterizes members in this House, would feel that they could defy their constituency, or
one or two people here and there, and be big enough to locate the offices where they would best serve the community. There is an injustice done here, and under this so-called reform havoc will be wrought in the Civil Service and a great deal of displeasure and more harm caused. I think that, where there is more than one application for a postmaster, at least the opinion of the member should be taken. It is not only a matter of shifting a man into this department or into that. The Bill as constituted is an excellent thing. But where there are more than two applications for a post office, or where there is a vacancy for a postmaster caused by the opening of a new office or by death, I think the member could be consulted first and no harm result. If this Bill is to fulfil the promises* of the Government, something should be put in it to provide that every tender for dredging or any other work or for any supplies should be sealed and left in a designated place until the time comes to open it, and it should be opened in public. In that way we will get away from patronage in the big sense of the word.
Topic: CIVIL SERVICE ACT AMENDMENT.