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Thursday, 10 November 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) . - I have had brought under my notice the possibility of a public servant suffering injustice if the clause is permitted to remain as it stands. . It has been pointed out to me, that if the Board find that an officer is inefficient, he may be dismissed from the Service, or may be reduced to a lower grade. If his reduction to a lower grade, carrying a lower salary, should take place within a year or two of his having reached the age of retirement, he might lose very heavily. It is possible that his inefficiency might be due to no fault of his own. All men do not retain their mental vigour for the same period. One man may be as mentally competent at sixty as at fifty years of age, whilst another at fifty-five years of age may have lost much of his mental vigour. It is suggested that where a man has been reduced to a lower grade, because of inefficiency due to no fault of his own, he should, on retirement, have to his credit the term he served in a higher grade.

Senator Wilson - And why not the wages also; following up the honorable senator's argument ?

Senator PAYNE - It might often be better to continue the employment of a public servant who had become inefficient through -the cause I have suggested in a lower grade than to compel his retirement.

Senator Wilson - If he is paid at the rate of the lower grade, why should he have the privileges of a higher grade 1

Senator PAYNE - A man may have done faithful service in the employment of a State and of the Commonwealth for thirty-five years, and, then, just before reaching the retiring age, he may be reduced to a lower grade because of inefficiency, due to circumstances over which he had no control.

Senator Drake-Brockman - The honorable senator should givethe Board credit for a certain amount of " savvy."

Senator PAYNE - The Board would have no control over the treatment of an officer after his retirement.

Senator Russell - I understand that if a man is reduced to a lower grade within two or three years of his reaching the age of retirement his furlough and other privileges, on retirement, are based upon what he received prior to his reduction.

Senator PAYNE - That is what I am suggesting should be done. It seems unjust that a man reduced to a lower grade, for the reasons I have stated, within a few years of his retirement should have his privileges, upon retirement diminished because of his reduction in grade.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 65 (Leave of absence for recreation).

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