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Friday, 24 August 1923

Mr SCULLIN (Yarra) (3:53 AM) .I move -

That the word ".six" in the proviso to sub-clause (1) be omitted, and the word twelve inserted in lieu thereof.

The proviso will then read that the compensation payable to any officer shall not be less than the equivalent of twelve months' pay. On the second reading I pointed out that the majority of these men who have had less than twelve years' service are the lowest paid, and, consequently, will be retired on a very small amount of compensation. About 66 per cent, of the officers in the Taxation Department have less than eight years' service, and about 85 per cent, less than twelve years' service. Officers with less than twelve years' service receive* very small salaries. Replying to my remarks on the second reading, the Treasurer said that the majority of the lower-paid officers would be absorbed in other Departments. That makes my plea all the stronger, because if the majority will be provided for in that way there will be fewer to compensate. It may be argued that the provision I am suggesting was not made in connexion with the retirement of the Defence Department officers, but none of them were below the fourth class, and, therefore, they were drawing higher salaries than are the majority of those who will be retired from the Taxation Department. I understand that the average amount of compensation paid to Defence officers was about £600, out the average under this Bill will be much less. Of the 1,600 officers in the Taxation Department, about 1,250 are in the fifth class, or even lower grades of the Service. A messenger with six years' service receives £144 per annum, and if dismissed will under the clause as drafted get £72 compensation. Female sorters with a similar length of service receive £153, and will get £76 in compensation. Male assistants with six years' service receive £180 per annum, and will get only £90 as compensation, and female assistants with six years' service receive £165, and will get £82 compensation. The position of fifth class clerks will be: - One year's service, salary £90, compensation £45; two years' service, salary £108, compensation £54; three years' service, compensation £63; four years' service, compen sation £75 ; five years' service, compensation £93; and six years' service, compensation £99. Nobody will suggest that these officers can re-establish themselves in employment with such a small amount of compensation. As a plea has been made for returned soldiers, I point out. that a large number of both temporary and permanent officers with short service are returned soldiers, and the brevity of their service is due to the fact that for a number of years they were absent at the war. The majority of those who have less than twelve years' service are receiving small salaries. The Minister may object that if a minimum of twelve months' pay be given in compensation some of the highlypaid officers will receive very large sums. To meet that objection I am willing that the minimum compensation shall be fixed at, say, £200. *

Mr Jackson - Would not £200 be more than the average twelve months' pay.?

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