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Wednesday, 19 May 1920


Mr MAKIN (Hindmarsh) .- It would appear from the statement made by the Assistant Minister for Defence (Sir Granville Ryrie), that there is little reason to complain of the new schedule that has been prepared, and that it is as equitable as might reasonably be expected of it. I have here, however, a comparative statement which I desire to nut before the honorable gentleman and the Committee, with the object of showing that justice has not been done to at least one branch of the Permanent Forces. I refer to the Royal Australian Engineers, and particularly to the pay of non-commissioned officers and others occupying subordinate positions in that arm of the service. This statement shows that commissioned officers have been granted increases of actual value to them. The old rate of pay for colonels was from £650 to £725 ner annum; the new rate is £800 per annum. The old rates of pay for lieutenant-colonels were from £576 to £625 per annum ; the new rates are from £635 to £750 per annum. The old rates for majors were from £475 to £550 per annum; the new rates are from £550 to £650 per annum. Captains under the old rates received from £375 to £450 per annum ; under the new rates they receive from £400 to £525 per annum. Lieutenants under the old rates received from £250 to £350 per annum; under the new rates they receive from £250 to £375 per annum. Quartermasters under the old rate were paid from £300 to £400 per annum ; under the new rate they receive from £325 to £450 per a.nnum. It will thus be seen that an actual increase has been granted to commissioned officers. In the case of those occupying subordinate positions, in some instances there has been an - actual decrease.


Sir Granville Ryrie - That is not so.


Mr MAKIN - I shall give the honorable gentleman the figures.


Mr Austin Chapman - And I shall supply him with names.


Mr MAKIN - Under the old rates sergeants received 10s. per diem, plus rations, which were valued in South Australia at ls. 6d. per diem. That amount was drawn in lieu of rations, making a total of £4 0s. 6d. per week, plus a free issue of uniform. Under the new rate they receive 72s. per week, with a deduction of 2s. 6d. per week for uniform. There waa no such deduction under theold rate. In the case of married men a bonus of 6s. per week is also granted. Married men, if in receipt of higher pay under the old rate, may retain it. Thus a married man gets no increase, and a single man suffers a reduction.


Sir Granville Ryrie - A number of married men receive an increase under the new rate.


Mr MAKIN - I ask the Minister to go into this matter. I am told that it is not within the knowledge of the Minister for Defence that the new scheme works out in this way - that the scheme as presented to him was deceptive, and made it impossible for him to deal with the situation on its merits. I want the Minister- to recognise that this matter requires his personal attention. He should see that he is placed in possession of the actual facts by his responsible officers. In the case of corporals, the old rate of pay was ls. per diem less than that received by sergeants; that is to say, they received £3 13s. 6d. per week and a free issue of uniform. Under the new rate they receive 67s. per week, with a deduction of 2s. 6d. per week for uniform. That deduction was not made under the old system. In. addition to the 67s. per week, married men receive a bonus of 6s. per week, and if they were in receipt of higher pay under the old rate they may retain it. A married man, it will be seen, gets no increase, and a single man actually suffers a reduction of 9s. per week.


Sir Granville Ryrie - Does the honorable member say that a corporal receives less than he got in 1914?


Mr MAKIN - I am comparing the new rate with that which prevailed prior to the 1st April last.


Sir Granville Ryrie - The honorable member is comparing the new rates with the war rates.


Mr MAKIN - That is so.


Sir Granville Ryrie - The honorable member, in order to be fair, should compare them with the pay in 1914.


Mr MAKIN - I want to be perfectly fair. These non-commissioned officers were led to believe that, as the result of the re-adjustment, they would receive anactual increase. They find, however, that instead of an increase, in some cases they are being subjected to a reduction. The new schedule must be judged in the light of the rates prevailing under the scheme for which it was substituted.


Sir Granville Ryrie - The honorable member wants the peace pay to be actually that which was paid in war time.


Mr MAKIN - Although peace has been declared, we have still to pay war prices. We must have regard to the cost of living.


Mr Austin Chapman - Why is it that, under this re-adjustment, married men are given the option of retaining the old rate if they do not like the new rate of pay?


Sir Granville Ryrie - So that they cannot possibly lose by the readjustment.


Mr MAKIN - I am trying to point out to the Minister that in the case of some of these subordinate officers the new rate means an actual loss of pay to them. In the case of corporals, married men are receiving the same pay that they drew during war time.


Sir Granville Ryrie - Some of them may receive more.


Mr MAKIN - In the case of corporals, a married man gets no increase, and a single man is subjected to an actual reduction of 9s. per week.


Sir Granville Ryrie - The honorable member has his figures worked out in his own way. If I. had at hand the figures I have had prepared for me, I would be able to " knock him kite high " in two minutes.


Mr MAKIN - It is unfortunate that the Minister should be without his figures ; but his statement is not very convincing to honorable members.


Mr Fenton - Nor satisfyingto the men who are receiving less than before.


Mr MAKIN - Quite so. I shall be pleased to hand this list to the Minister, so that he may see for himself that there is some justification for the complaint I am voicing. In the case of a sapper we find the old rates were as follow: -

Single man, 5s. 6d. to6s. per diem, plus free rations, quarters, and uniform ; married man, 5s. 6d. to 6s. per diem, plus1s. 6d. per diem in lieu of rations, plus1s. 6d. per diem in lieu of quarters, and plus free uniform.

The new rates are as follow :

Single man, 60s. per week, less a deduction of 2s. 6d. per week for uniform, less 10s. per week for rations, and less 2s. 6d. per week for quarters; married man, 60s. per week, plus a bonus of 6s. per week, less a deduction of 2s. 6d. per week for uniform.

The comparison is as follows : - A single man received an increase of from 3s. to 6s. 6d. per week according to length of service. A married man received an increase of from 4s. per week for a man with less than two years' service to 6d'. per week for a man with over six years' service. The men who are filling the offices in the Royal Australian Engineers must have certain qualifications. No person other than a tradesman may be enlisted. Indentures must be produced, and applicants for enlistment must submit to a trade test. Every member is available for duty the whole or any part of the twenty-four hours. No further consideration is given in respect to that particular facility placed at the disposal of the Department. The value of the rations varies in the different States. Although1s. 6d. per diem is paid in lieu in South Australia, it may amount to more or less in the other States. When an officer gets a staff job his rates are increased from £50 to £100 per annum, but no such privileges as staff jobs are open to men of other ranks. I hope that the Minister will have further investigation made into this particular schedule, and that he will see that greater justice is done to those who occupy the more subordinate positions in the Defence Department.







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