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Friday, 17 July 1931

Mr KEANE (Bendigo) . - I am unable to accept the explanation given by the Prime Minister. The bill originally provided for a reduction of £34 for both male and female employees. We urged at that stage that the margin of difference between the salary reduction of male and female officers should be one-third. That was agreed to by the Minister in charge of the measure, and I believe that it gave satisfaction to the officers of the Public Service organizations that were handling the matter. If the bill were now under complete reconsideration in this chamber, exemptions would probably be provided on the basis adopted in Victoria. Under the Victorian scheme the minimum is fixed at £26 a year higher than under this bill. I ask the committee to reject this amendment. The Public Service generally has been heavily penalized already under this measure. Under an award, it agreed to a reduction of wages due to the annual adjustment on account of the cost of living three months earlier than the reduction would ordinarily have applied. The Public Service representatives left Canberra in the belief that this anomaly had been corrected, and the action taken by the Government in submitting this amendment in another place is provocative, and will, I believe, make the dissatisfaction more general than it now is. .

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