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Thursday, 10 November 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- I can go with Senator Senior up to a point, but no further. Certain public servants receive allowances which are the equivalent of pay. These allowances, I think, should be taken into consideration in connexion with furlough pay.

Senator Russell - Ordinary allowances are not affected, because 7 per cent. of the value of salary is deducted where living quarters are provided. During the war, cost-of-living allowances, instead of increased salaries, were authorized in order to enable public servants to meet the abnormal advance in living costs. When the cost of living comes down, these allowances must be reviewed.

Senator PAYNE - I agree with Senator Senior that the allowances mentioned by the Minister ought to be regarded as salary.

Senator Russell - But these allowances will not be continued indefinitely.

Senator PAYNE - That is an entirely different question. I am glad to know that the Government purpose reviewing them from time to time; but while costofliving allowances are being paid, they should be regarded as salary. This is the position : Public servants were in receipt of a certain pay under normal conditions, and during the war the Government, believing that they should receive a fair salary in order to live decently, authorized the payment of allowances to meet the higher cost of living. What is the difference? If a man is paid £168 per annum, plus £62 per annum cost-of-living allowance, he gets £230 per year for certain services rendered to the Commonwealth. i maintain that, actually, he is in receipt of a salary of £230 per year. The Minister may call it what he likes - pay, salary, or allowances. a caretaker of a public building receiving £200 a year, with house, fuel, and lighting free, is in a totally different category. When he is on furlough, he is still entitled to the use of the house and the enjoyment of the other privileges mentioned. That is where i differ from Senator Senior. Those allowances should not be taken into account; but where the cost-of-living allowance is really equivalent to an increase in salary to meet the abnormal conditions of the times, it should be taken into consideration when furlough is granted, because a member of the Public Service on furlough still has to maintain his wife and family. Therefore, he should suffer no deduction. i take it that the good sense of the Committee will accept this interpretation of the term "salary".

Progress reported. special adjournment.

Motion (by Senator Russell) agreed to-

That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until 11.30 a.m. to-morrow (Friday).

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