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Wednesday, 26 November 1941

Mr RYAN (Flinders) (1:14 AM) . - I direct the attention of the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) to the disadvantage of married men in the Permanent Forces as compared with married men in the Militia Forces. As an example, I cite the case of a married sergeant with a wife and three children. A first-grade sergeant in the Australian Imperial Force called up for tlie duration of the war receives the following daily rates of pay and allowances: Pay, lis.; wife's allowance, 4s. 6d. ; allowances for three children, 5s.; and subsistence allowance, if not messing with, the regiment, 3s. 5d.; total, ?1 2s. lid. That represents ?16 Os. lOd. a fortnight. A sergeant in. the Permanent Forces receives as pay ?13 13s. 6d. a fortnight, from which is deducted 16s. a fortnight for superannuation, which leaves him ?10 l'7s. 6d. compared with ?16 0s. lOd. for a sergeant in the Militia. Since the Commonwealth child endowment scheme has been in force, the sergeant in the Permanent Forces has lost the child allowances which he formerly received from the Department of the Army in respect of which he used to pay to the Army ?12 a year and receive in return from the department 5s. a week in respect of each child under the age of sixteen. He now retains that ?12 a yea.r, but it is included in the figures which I have cited. He receives child endowment but so does the man in the Militia, who also receives an allowance for dependent children. A difference of nearly ?5 fortnightly between the wages of two sergeants doing similar work can hardly be regarded as just. The sergeant in the Permanent Forces is one of the nuclei of the Military Forces of this country.

Mr Spender - The Army provides sergeants with permanent, employment, whereas sergeants in the Militia are employed merely for the duration of the war.

Mr RYAN - Yes, but the discrepancy is too great. I concede that the sergeant in the Permanent Forces does receive advantages which are not received by Militia sergeants. For instance, his wife and family receive medical attention.

Mr Spender - He also receives the benefit of cost of living adjustments.

Mr RYAN - Grounds seem to exist for reducing the difference between the two rates of pay. The number of married men in the permanent forces cannot be large and therefore the burden involved in increasing their rates of pay could not be great. The Government should look into the matter, and see whether some small increase should not be made in order to bring the pay of the sergeants and other married men in the Permanent Forces more into line with that of similar ranks in the Militia...

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