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Friday, 8 July 1921

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) . - There seems to be the usual misunderstanding about this clause, which indicates that honorable senators generally do not give much attention to the Public Service Act. When a boy enters the Service at from sixteen to. eighteen years of age, he. requires an increment each year to meet his growth and development, and his increase of experience. But when, we come to consider the case of heads of Departments paid, it may be, over £1,000 per year, are we to continue giving them annual increases? Not at all. They have reached the maximum salary of their offices. In growing Departments it is possible that officers in receipt of high salaries may be granted an increase of £50 or £100; but that is not usual. We should not be compelled to give such officers annual increments, but it is essential to grant annual increments to officers in lower positions whose responsibilities are increasing from year to year. The exemptions in the lower grades are few, because officers can only be prevented from receiving increases when the permanent head of their Department reports that their work or conduct has been ' unsatisfactory.

Senator Senior - I know of instances in which officers have received more than one increase in a year.

Senator RUSSELL - And so do I. If a public servant is performing his work satisfactorily, and his conduct is good, he is entitled to an annual increase; but if his conduct has not been all that should be desired, the increase should be withheld. If the amendment moved by Senator Senior is adopted,*, we would be compelled to give officers who are already in receipt of the maximum salary annual increments, which we do not desire to do.

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