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Wednesday, 21 October 1903

Mr ISAACS (Indi) - I entirely disagree with the statement of the honorable member for Dalley that the Prime Minister is to blame for the course which he has adopted in laying aside the original Appropriation Bill. In my judgment, no other action was possible under the circumstances. But whilst he has adopted the right course constitutionally, I feel bound to vote against the increase which is proposed to the Clerk of the -Papers and Accountant who is attached to the Senate staff. Last year that officer was in receipt of £360. We raised the salary to £380, and, at the same time, fixed the remuneration of our own officer at £420, both Houses agreeing that in the one case £380 adequately paid the officer for his work.

Mr Deakin - That is not quite correct. The question of salaries was considered, and it was decided that officers upon the Senate staff should receive the same remuneration as officers attached to the staff of this Chamber. The increase which is now proposed really constitutes the second instalment of what it was thought fair to pay two years ago.

Mr ISAACS - The Prime Minister has, perhaps, a more distinct recollection of the matter than I have. I have no recollection of the basis of the arrangement, but I am not going to say that it was not as now stated. It appears to me that if £380 was considered sufficient for last year's work-

Mr Deakin - It was not ; but it was thought that it would not do to increase the salary to this amount in one year.

Mr ISAACS - Then why make an increase of £40 this year ?

Mr Deakin - That will complete the salary, and the officer will not be able to expect any more.

Mr Higgins - Were the Committee told last year that there would be a further increas of £40 in this salary ?

Mr Deakin - No; the Joint House Committee in the case of the messengers and the several. House Committees in the case of the other officials, entered into a careful study of the salaries, and came to the conclusion that the work performed by these officers in the two Houses was the same, and that the salaries should be the same.

Mr ISAACS - If that be so, I fail to see why this officer should have had any portion of his salary kept back. I cannot see, however, that the work performed by the two officials is the same. If the duties discharged by these officers are equivalent to those carried out by the officers of this House, we must have a surplus officer.

Mr Deakin - No.

Mr ISAACS - Then the work cannot be the same. This officer's title is the same as that of one of our own officers, but there can be no comparison between the work of the two. I therefore do not see that anything has happened since last year to cause us to alter the determination at which we then arrived. I regret that I shall have to vote against the increase.

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