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Wednesday, 14 October 1931
Page: 720

Mr WARD (East Sydney) .- The remarks of some honorable members suggest the possibility of Commonwealth public servants in New South Wales being placed at a disadvantage as compared with State public servants. Members have received correspondence from the Commonwealth Public Service organizations in New South Wales complaining that this Parliament has treated them

Unfairly. They point out that the State

Parliaments, when imposing a 20 per cent, reduction of salaries, took into account the unemployment relief tax. As the Commonwealth Parliament did not extend that consideration to its servants, they are suffering a greater reduction of income than are the members of the State Public Service. The organizations complain, also, that the Commonwealth basic wage is lower than that for the servants of the States. Those who are not in receipt of the prevailing basic wage should be exempt from the unemployment relief tax, and if that necessitates a further adjustment, I suggest that members of Parliament pay the full one shilling in the pound, instead of 6d. in the pound, as proposed for those in receipt of salaries ranging from £500 to .-£1,000. Pew members of Parliament are dependent on their salaries; most of thom hold Ministerial office or positions on committees, which entitle them to fees and travelling expenses, and, therefore, they are well able to pay the unemployment tax of ls. in the ±1. Those officers who are receiving £500 and upwards are fortunate in being linked with members of Parliament. The representatives of New South "Wales are more concerned about the reduction of salary they will suffer and the amount of unemployment tax they will pay than with the lot of the public servants.

Mr CHIFLEY (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is one of the mean things the honorable member would say.

Mr WARD - I can. quite understand the Minister for Defence being hit on the raw when I mention pounds, shillings and pence, because money considerations alone are responsible for his position in the House.

Mr SCULLIN (YARRA, VICTORIA) - That statement is offensive and should be withdrawn.

The CHAIRMAN" (Mr". McGrath).I ask the honorable member for East Sydney to 'withdraw his offensive remark.

Mr WARD - I withdraw it. I regret having to hurt the feelings of honorable members, but there is no disguising the fact that when their own rights and privileges ave at stake, -champions arise on every side to defend them. But when wc are discussing pensions, some honorable members are very ready to point out that the aged and the invalid can well bear a reduction of 2s. Gd. a week. Any diminution of the income of honorable members, however, is regarded as unfair. I am prepared to say this in the constituencies, and even to follow the Minister for Defence .into his electorate to defend the attitude I have adopted to-day. I know that the numbers are available to pass this bill, but I believe that there has been unfair discrimination between Commonwealth and State public servants in respect of the 20 per cent, reduction of salaries. It is not fair to say that Statepublic servants have been placed at a disadvantage, when we have appeals from the Commonwealth service organizations to redress what they regard as unfair discrimination against them.

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