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Wednesday, 30 June 1937

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for External Affairs) [12.49]. - I do not think that Parliament is the place for a discussion of the classifications or the increases that have been provided for officers of the Public Service. The Public Service Board, which is responsible for the reclassification, does its work carefully and systematically. It is not simply a case of musical chairs. Because one officer goes up other officers do not necessarily doso. The board, through its inspectors and the machinery which it has evolved, makes a thorough examination of the work done by each department and by each officer. After making careful comparisons of the work the board assesses its relative value. The investigation which resulted in the reclassification to which the honorable senator has referred was done thoroughly and occupied several months, and the Government has accepted theboard's recommendations. I suggest to Senator Collings that it is far better to deal with the reclassification of the Public Service in this way than to try to deal with it in the Parliament.

Senator Collings - I do not wish to do that. I wish to know why the Pensions Department seems to be the Cinderella department.

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - I assure the honorable senator that the board gives careful consideration to the nature of the work done and compares the responsibilities of the officers of different departments. The skill required and the relative efficiency are all brought under review. If the officers of the Pensions Department think that they have been unfairly treated they may apply for a reclassification.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Officers have done so on numerous occasions.

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE.The board acts impartially and, in the circumstances, Parliament would be unjustified in disturbing its findings.

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