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Friday, 24 August 1923

Mr MAKIN (Hindmarsh) (5:25 AM) . - The arguments which have been advanced by honorable members on this side of the Committee in favour of giving the employees of the Taxation Department who are to be retrenched the equivalent of twelve months' pay as compensation have been sound. These employees will be under a great disability in seeking employment elsewhere, because of the specialized nature of their training. On that account the Government should not under-estimate its obligations. These employees have rendered valuable service to the community, and the Committee should not hesitate to accept the amendment of the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin),. It is quite possible that ordinary clerical work will not be available to these men, and we should protect them from undue embarrassment while they are seeking suitable employment. The Leader of the Opposition and other members on this side have so' far appealed in vain to the Treasurer for justice to be done to these men who are to be retired compulsorily from the Department. Unfortunately, any suggestion emanating from this side is discounted. ' I do not know why the Governmnet refuse to recognise their obligations . towards these officers. It would appear, however, that no consideration is to be given to men in the lower ranks of the Service. If we were considering claims on behalf of the officers in the higher branches, we would find that very liberal arrangements had been made to compensate them for retirement. The action of the Government in this matter demonstrates that they are prepared' to advance the interests of those who have, at the expense of those who have not. I trust, however, that the Treasurer will show a little mare consideration for the claims of these deserving public servants, many of whom will find it exceedingly difficult to obtain outside employment, Surely the Minister realizes that unless the amendment is agreed to grave injustice will be done to men, many of. whom, from life-long experience in public departments, are unfitted for competition in the outside business world. I submit that they have a just claim upon the Commonwealth. The amount involved cannot be very great. They are 'entitled to twelve months' pay instead of six. months, as provided in the clause. I appeal in all earnestness to the Treasurer to accept the amendment, and do the fair thing by the officers concerned.

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