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It has been said of the Australian and New Zealand Colonies that their aristocracy is one of bank clerks and Government officials. Every member of that aristocracy is qualified to ride a horse, play billiards, make a bet, drink colonial beer, whisper nonsense to a barmaid, but of real work he is as ignorant as a mule. The members of the Government, aristocracy are said to look to Government as $o a loving father—their salaries are their birthright, and a pension their inheritance. The man who said all this about the Australasian Civil Services was careful to say it in a Home paper, otherwise he might unexpectedly have got his head in his hand, if he had dared to utter language of that kind in any of these colonies. Yet the feeling he entertained regarding the civil service is gradually getting worked into some of the members of the'House of .Representatives, and some very treasonable doctrines regarding superannuation allowance, etc., are being promulgated. Onemember will have it that the

Government service is not different from the service of a private employer, and that it should be conducted accordingly. That is, that as soon as a servant’s services are no longer required they should be dispensed with, in the same way that a master builder would pay off just as many carpenters as he had no more work for. As regards superannuation, another member points to life assurance, and bolds that if Civil Servants, and, in fact, servants who are not in Government employ, would take advantage of it, superannuation would be as little required as it is incumbent on Government to bestow it. There are thousands of men who have grown grey in the service of private employers who are very soon relegated to the ranks of the unemployed when they reach that point of their career at which they “ lag, superfluous on the stage.” Their wages paid at the end of, the week, they have no further claim upon their employers, so that superannuation in private life is a thing almost unknown—unknown certainly as the right of the recipient. It has been urged that Civil Servants enter the service at an early age, in the hope and belief that they will end their days in it; and, therefore, such qualifications as they possess are acquired while in the service, and these are comparatively valueless when they leave. In these circumstances, a special claim is made out that they ought never to be discharged, but that room should be made for them at something else when their own particular occupation is found to be gone. Only as Civil Servants are they useful, and as such must they be employed. It is, apparently, with a view to remedy this state of helplessness, that Mr. Seddon has given notice of a motion. Perhaps, too, he means to find work of some kind or other for every man iii the future whom the exigencies of any particular department may require to remove. His motion is —“ That in future no male person under twenty-one years of age be appointed to the Civil Service of the colony who has not learned some trade, profession, or business.” If it passes, farewell the aristocracy of officialism—farewell for ever the prestige of the Civil Service ! Reduced to the level of common tradesmen or shopkeepers, or even lawyers, or doctors, or parsons, or editors —oh, horror!

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Bibliographic details

CIVIL SERVANTS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 134, 3 August 1880

Word Count

CIVIL SERVANTS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 134, 3 August 1880