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Thursday, 12 November 1964

Senator COHEN (Victoria) .- This Bill seeks to provide an appropriation of funds for the purpose of increasing, with effect from 1st November 1964, the salaries of permanent heads of departments. The Opposition offers no objection to the Bill, but we note with some surprise that the salaries of the permanent heads of parliamentary departments, all First Division officers, have not been increased by the same percentage as have the salaries of other permanent heads. The salaries of permanent heads of Public Service departments, presently fixed at £5,900, will be increased to £7,500, and salaries now fixed at £6,900 will be increased to £8,750. This represents an increase of 27 per cent. But the salaries of the heads of parliamentary departments are not to be increased by the same percentage. The salary of the Clerk of the Senate will be increased from £5,025 to £6,000 - an increase not of 27 per cent, but of 19.4 per cent. A similar rate of increase applies to the salary of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. The salary of the Parliamentary Librarian will be increased by 22.7 per cent., to £5,400; the salary of the Secretary of the Joint House Department will be increased by 18.2 per cent., to £5,200; and the salary of the Principal Parliamentary Reporter will be increased by 18.8 per cent., to £4,900.

Will the Minister tell us the reason for the differential treatment that has been meted out to the heads of parliamentary departments? These salaries are not subject to any arbitral fixation. They are fixed by the Government. When a general increase in First Division salaries is being made it is somewhat surprising that the percentage increase applied to the salaries of permanent heads of Public Service departments is not applied to those of permanent heads of parliamentary departments. I should like some information on that aspect. Subject to that, we do not oppose the Bill.

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