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Tuesday, 6 December 1927

Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) . - Senator Newlands has taken exception to a remark which I made earlier in the debate to the effect that in the matter of salary increases certain officers appear to have had the ear of the President. I wish to assure Senator Newlands that I did not intend to infer that anything improper had occurred. The President has admitted that he and Mr. Speaker consulted with the Clerks of Parliament in regard to the salaries of the officers connected with Parliament. That was a proper course for them to pursue. I also agree that, if the Clerk of the Senate believed that there were good reasons why his salary should be increased, he was justified in making representations on his own behalf. I have been in a similar position, and I have not hesitated to suggest that my work entitled me to a higher salary. I see nothing improper in what has been done. My point was that, because the President, bas to consult with the Clerk of the Senate in dealing with salaries that officer has a better opportunity to put forward his claims for an increase than have other officers not so closely in touch with the Presiding Officer. I am reminded that, when the Appropriation Bill was before us last year, Senator Needham moved a precisely similar request to that which he has moved to-night. I then interjected -

Why not accept the assurance of Mr. President, and leave the matter to him ? The honorable senator said he would do that.

I believed then that the President would take the earliest opportunity of consider ing the whole question of the salaries of the officers of Parliament, and I have no doubt that he believed that be has done so in the Estimates now before the Committee. I am not quarrelling with the increases that have been given ; but I do suggest that the lower-paid officers have not received the same treatment that has been given to the more highly-paid officers. The President has admitted that the maximum salary paid to Hansard reporters in this Parliament is £20 per annum le3S than the maximum salary paid to similar officers in the New South Wales Parliament. That anomaly cannot be justified. The reporting staff attached to a State Parliament should not be paid more than the reporting staff of the Parliament of the whole Commonwealth. T have brought these matters forward, because I feel that something should be done to remove these anomalies. I again plead for further and more sympathetic consideration for the lower-paid officers, without in any way suggesting that any less consideration should be given to those in receipt of higher salaries.

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