New South Wales.
The 1876 saga in Tamworth.

You vote for me and I will ...

An 1876 debate in the NSW Legislative Assembly, as reported by the Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser for 26 February 1876, gives some insight into the way the Superintendent of Telegraphs (Mr. Cracknell), the Post-Master (Saul Samuel) - and far too many who have followed - acted on occasions.

During the debate in the Assembly, it was noted that "some time ago, the Superintendent of Telegraphs, after visiting several of the telegraph offices in the north, recommended the disamalgamation of the Post and Telegraph office at Tamworth. But the Secretary to the Post Office, Mr. Lambton, opposed it, but recommended the appointment of an assistant post-master instead. The matter remained in abeyance for some time; but the fact that Mr. E. C. Cracknell had made a recommendation became known in Tamworth.

Some time before the motion respecting the removal of moneys from the Bank of New South Wales (Ed. now, in part, Westpac) came on in the House, the Hon. member for Liverpool Plains went to him (Cracknell) and said that "his son(-in-law) (he believed he said his son but the relationship became confused in the debate) was disengaged and was idling about and asked him to put him in the office at Tamworth as probationer". Apparently the son-in law, who had a wife and two children, was appointed to the position of assistant post-master in the time before the vote. There was also a belief around that a Mr. Arnott, the Postmaster at Murrurundi, was to be promoted to Tamworth.

The Hon. member asked Cracknell several times to assent to his son-in-law entering the office as a probationer. He at last wrote a minute to the effect that the Hon. member's relative might be received as a probationer, of course without salary. He thought the son-in-law had been in the office two or three weeks when the Hon. member for Liverpool Plains came down to vote on the question of the removal of the bank - moneys. Some time after the vote referred to took place, and some two or three months after the son-in-law's appointment, a question arose as to the salary he was to receive, and it was fixed at £1 per week and was made to date back from the time of the person entering the office.

Another member added: As I was going up-stairs to the refreshment room with the Hon. Member (Mr. Meyer) to get something stronger than a cup of tea, they met the Hon. member for Liverpool Plains, in a rage, coming down. Asking him " What is the matter Mr. Bennett? I never thought teetotalers got into bad tempers like this"? He answered "No wonder that I should get into a bad temper. If your knew all, you would get into a bad temper as well as me about it." He then distinctly stated that the Postmaster-General said that if he did not vote for the Government, his son-in-law would never have any position under the Government".

The discussion before the vote ended with "He thought the Postmaster-General had made a very lame defence. That every word he uttered was a plea of guilty. Every Hon. member who dared to speak honestly must believe that what the Hon. member for Liverpool Plains said was true, and that what the Postmaster General said was untrue. It was degrading to think that any Minister could attempt to influence a member in the way the Postmaster-General had done". So ended the 1876 Tamworth debacle. Nothing changed and no further action was taken.

The full text of the article can be referenced elsewhere.