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Wednesday, 12 May 1920

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Watkins (NEWCASTLE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I would point out to the honorable member that his amendment would increase the expenditure under the Bill, and, consequently, I rule that it is not in order.

Mr HIGGS - Then I desire to strike out the word ' ' thousand ' ' and to leave a blank. May I refer, even at this late hour, to the scope of the AuditorGeneral's work ? It covers the Commonwealth Treasury, the Military and Naval Defence Departments, including the Woollen Mills, Clothing Factory, Small Arms Factory, Cordite Factory, Harness and Equipment Factory, the Commonwealth Bank, Customs Department, land tax, entertainments tax, public passports, Australian Wheat Board, soldiers' repatriation, Commonwealth line of steamers, Prime Minister's Department, Department of Home and Territories, and the Department of Works and Railways. I am aware that I cannot move for an increase in the salary of the Auditor-General, but I sub- mit that his salary should be at least £1,500 per annum, whereas he receives only £1,000. He has had no increase since the day he was appointed in 1901, notwithstanding that nearly every other officer of such high degree has had increases. I would like the Acting Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) to bring under the notice of the Cabinet the salaries of other highly placed officers. The High Commissioner receives £3,000 per annum, and an additional £2,000 for the tnanitenance of his official residence; the Australian Commissioner in the United States of America gets £3,000, and an allowance of £2,000 the First Naval Member receives £2,500 per annum; the general manager of the Commonwealth Shipping Line in London is paid a similar sum, whilst his assistant receives £1,080 per annum; the Chief Inter-State Commissioner gets £2,500 per annum, and his two colleagues each receive £2,000 per annum ; the Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Shipping Line gets £2,000; the Commissioner of the Commonwealth railways, £2,000; the Chief of the General Staff of the Military Forces, £1,500 ; the Director of the Bureau of Commerce and Industry, £1,500; the Public Service Commissioner, £1,500 ; the Acting Public Service Commissioner, £1,200 ; the general manager of the Arsenal, £1,350; the Commissioner of Land Tax, £1,250; the Prices Commissioner, £1,200; the ControllerGeneral of Trade and Customs, £1,200; the Director of Quarantine, £1,200; the Secretary to the Treasury, . £1,200; and the Solicitor-General, £1,200. I would point out that the Auditor-General in South Africa receives a salary of £1,800 per annum. I believe in paying high salaries for the best brains; and the sooner 'that principle is recognised by the Commonwealth, the better it will be for all of us.

Mr West - The members of this Parliament ought to be paid more

Mr HIGGS - I agree with that proposition too. Seeing that the members of the House of Representativesin America are paid £1,500 per annum, it is absurd that the members of this Chamber should receive only £600 per annum. I hope that the Acting Treasurer will bring this matter sympathetically before the Cabinet, with a view to placing the Auditor-General in a proper position..

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