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Thursday, 2 October 1902

Mr BATCHELOR - I did not propose to say one word about the drill instructors, and I was very glad to hear the statement which has just been made. In his speech, the Minister referred to the fact that South Australia had run its military service very economically, and that he was not quite

Sure as to its efficiency. We run most of our departments most economically, and certainly in no case has it been said that economy has been secured at the expense of efficiency. I assure the Minister that the Defence department in South Australia will be found to have been just as efficiently managed as any other. He has stated that one of the great troubles he had was that the scale of pay in that State was lower than in any other.

Sir William Lyne - In one particular branch where the £5 comes in.

Mr BATCHELOR - The difficulty in regard to the lower pay of the men cannot be got over any more easily by giving increases to the officers.

Sir William Lyne - I do not think that an increase has been given.

Mr BATCHELOR - To start with, the Commandant got £500, but now he is to get £650. The salary of one office is increased by £150, but the pay of the men cannot be increased. The chief staff officer received under the old scale £400, but now under a new title he is to receive £475.

Sir William Lyne - But it is not the same man. There is no increase of pay:

Mr BATCHELOR - The Minister twitted South Australia with the fact that the pay for her men is somewhat lower than is that of other States, and, therefore, that he had very great difficulty in dealing with the cases, but at the same time he has appointed a new officer at a larger salary than his predecessor received.

Sir William Lyne - Because that is what he was getting before.

Mr BATCHELOR - The previous Commandant got £500 ; but the officer who was sent down to take his place was getting £650 in Queensland.

Sir William Lyne - Therefore, he was moved to South Australia, with the same salary as he had previously.

Mr BATCHELOR -Would it be unfair to contrast that case with the treatment of Colonel Stuart, who was offered a position now filled by a lieutenant at £300 a year, a much lower salary than he is now receiving? Here is a man who, starting as a private, passed through the ranks and obtained the position of ActingCommandant in South Australia, and Commandantf or ayear or two while Colonel Gordon was in England. He put in his time at Aldershot for a year or two at his own expense. He came back to the State, and he was so well qualified that he got the position of Acting Commandant, and later that of Commandant. Out of the senior military positions in the Commonwealth, he alone was retired before he had reached the age limit, and he was offered a most inferior position, formerly held by a lieutenant. It happens that he is not in any sense a society man. I have stated the plain facts, and I now leave the matter in the hands of the Minister, expecting complete justice to be done. I ask for nothing more than complete justice.

Sir William Lyne - I shall certainly look into the matter. I have heard a great deal more about it to-night than I ever knew before.

Mr BATCHELOR - I wish the Minister when he is looking into the retrenchment business in South Australia to notice the expense of the permanent force compared with that of the other branches of the service. A sum of £14,546 is devoted to the permanent force consisting of 68 men, while £11,000 is spent on the active and reserve force, comprising 2,941 men. The Minister will see the disproportion.

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