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Wednesday, 8 June 1904

Mr GLYNN (Angas) - I desire to refer to a matter connected with the Post and Telegraph Department. Last November I wrote to the Treasurer, asking how it was that the increments of South Australian officers whose salaries amounted to £160 per annum and upwards were not provided for. Under the South Australian Public Service Act of 1874, section 9, there are certain increments which are annual, within, the maximum and minimum of each class. I wrote a second time, and on the 4th January I received a reply from the late Treasurer, stating that officers in receipt of salaries of under £160 were to receive the annual increment, but that as to salaries of £160 and upwards, the matter would have to await the classification of the Public Service Commissioner. Fearing that this relegation was the result of a misunderstanding as to the legal position, I wrote pointing out that officers in receipt of salaries of £160 and upwards were entitled by statute to increments which had always been paid in South Australia ; and that the rights under the Act of 1874 had received recognition by the State Parliament. On two occasions, when Bills were introduced into the South Australian Parliament providing, as part of the financial schemes for particular years, for certain reductions in the salaries of all officers, it was realized that the salaries of certain officers could be altered only by statute, and under the circumstances, Parliament, as a matter of policy, rejected the proposal to reduce them.- It seems to me as clear as daylight that those officers have an absolute statutory right, which, under section 84 of the Constitution, should be recognised. So far as I know, nothing has been done since January last, and I should like the Prime Minister, or some other member of the Government, to explain the position in which the request, that the statutory rights of those officers should be recognised, now is. It will be seen that the position of the South Australian officers,, to whom I refer, is altogether different from that of the Victorian officers, because in the former case the increments are annual, and were prescribed as far back as 1874. It is clear that, under section 84 of the Constitution, all the rights of these transferred officers are conserved ; and I hope we shall be informed whether or not the increments will be provided for in the Estimates for this year, and all arrears paid.

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