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Thursday, 6 October 1927

Senator ELLIOTT (Victoria) .- There is another matter that the Ministry would do well to consider. The government of the Federal Capital Territory is carried on under ordinances, into one of which an irritating provision has crept. If a person has business premises in the civic centre he can let the whole of them without reference to the commission, but if he should wish to sub-let a portion he must first obtain its consent. Considerable delay is thus caused, and a prospective tenant cannot be readily informed whether he may have the use of the portion he desires. The idea originally was that the shopkeeper would have his residence on the upper floor, and it was considered undesirable to allow him to take in lodgers, the benevolent intention being to obviate the creation of slum areas. I believe that the commission itself has found the provision unworkable and is anxious that it should be withdrawn.

Senator Sir William Glasgow - I shall have the attention of the Minister drawn to the matter.

Senator ELLIOTT - A complaint has reached me from servants of the adminis- tration in New Guinea. They have not the right of appeal in regard to salaries to either the Public Service Board or the Public Service Arbitrator. Their salaries have not been increased since the date of their appointment. A most glaring anomaly has occurred as the result of the appointment recently of a gold-fields warden - a junior officer with really no high professional qualifications. It was found necessary to appoint a Queensland man and the administration was obliged to offer him a high salary. He is receiving a salary greater than that which is. being paid to other officers who are his superiors. Neither in Victoria nor in New South Wales is a gold-fields warden or a magistrate in receipt of a salary greater than that which is paid to the head of the department. The salaries attaching to those positions in Australia have risen considerably since 1920, and they must be paid to any one who goes to New Guinea from Australia. Provision should be made whereby public servants in New Guinea would have access to either the Public Service Arbitrator or the Public Service Board.

SenatorReid. - We have nothing to do with them.

Senator ELLIOTT - We are responsible for the administration in New Guinea, and it is our duty to see that the officers there are given conditions comparable with those that exist in Australia.

Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW - (Queensland - Minister for Defence) [5.58]. - The Minister for Homes and Territories (Mr. Marr) recently visited New Guinea and, doubtless, this matter was brought to his notice. I point out to the honorable senator that it was necessary to obtain the services of a very competent officer who possessed a knowledge of mining law, to administer affairs at Edie Creek, where trouble had occurred. At the time there was not in the Territory an officer who possessed those qualifications, and he had to be obtained from a mainland State in which there was a mining administration. The officer selected has succeeded in bringing about more contentment. I shall refer to the Minister the question that has been raised by the honorable senator.

Schedule agreed to.

Preamble and title agreed to.

Bill reported without requests; report adopted.

Bill (on motion by Senator Sir William Glasgow) read a third time.

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