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Tuesday, 6 December 1927

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - I notice that there is an increase of nearly £6,000 in the vote for the High Commissioner's office. The amount last year was £60,396 and this year we are being asked to sanction an expenditure of £66,440. Included in the vote is an amount of £2,000 under the heading "Allowance to High Commissioner for expenses of official residence ". Is that in addition to the salary which he receives? The salary of the financial adviser to the High Commissioner and of the Official Secretary is £2,000. What does the High Commissioner himself receive ? I notice also an item " Clerks, typists, storemen, messengers, telephonists and assistants." The vote for that last year was £12,300; but this year it has been increased to £15,000. I should like to be told what value we get from the office, and in what direction its work has increased.

Senator SirGEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia - Vice-President of the Executive Council) [10.40].- The increase of officers under the Public Service Act is due to the appointment of a medical officer, one-half of whose salary is paid from the High Commissioner's vote and the other half from the Migration vote. That accounts for £630. The balance of the increase under that head, £225, is caused by the higher salary which was carried by the accountant on his transfer from Australia in 1926, higher child endowment payments, and estimated higher duty allowances. The increases under the High Commissioner Act amount to £2,789 on account of salaries and an extra day's pay during leap year. This is more in the nature of a transfer than an increase. In former years the salaries of eight officers under the High Commissioner Act who were engaged upon intelligence and publicity duties in the office of the Official Secretary, were paid from migration votes. In order to properly allocate this expenditure these salaries have been transferred to the High Commissioner's vote. It is estimated that the staff of typists will be reduced by one, leaving a net increase of seven transferred to this vote from elsewhere. Provision has also been made for the anticipated rise in the Whitley bonus and ordinary increments payable to the staff. The item " Stationery, travelling and incidental expenditure " is estimated to increase by £750, municipal and other taxes by £1,600, and the allowances for entertainment purposes to the financial adviser, Mr. Collins, £250. The items to which I have referred represent a gross increase of £6,244. There is a decrease of £200 in the vote for the upkeep of Australia House. Therefore the net increase is £6,044. The salary of the High Commissioner, under a special appropriation, is £3,000 a year.

Proposed vote agreed to.

The Department of the Treasury.

Proposed vote, £662,820.

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