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Friday, 24 June 1904

Mr CROUCH - In regard to the reclassification scheme, I desire to ask the Prime Minister if he remembers that the first Ministers of the Commonwealth stated that they did not propose, as a matter of policy, to pay the permanent heads of Departments more than ^800 per annum, and whether he is aware that, in spite of that fact, the classification scheme, which has been approved by the ' Governor in Council-

Mr Watson - We have not approved of the details, although we have indorsed the policy of the Commissioner.

Mr CROUCH - What I wish to ask is, whether the Minister is aware that, under the classification scheme, a proposal is made to increase salaries beyond what' was previously regarded as the maximum.

Mr WATSON - In looking through the lists, I find that in some cases the work has been rated by the Commissioner, independently of the salary now received by the officer occupying that position, at a sum higher than the amount mentioned by the honorable member. My memory of the promise made by the Barton Ministry is that it was put forward long prior to the appointment of the Public Service Commissioner.

Mr Deakin - I think it was made when the Public Service Bill was before the House.

Mr WATSON - I think the debate took place on the first estimates. We were discussing the amounts proposed to be paid to the heads of the Departments, and I remember that an understanding was then arrived at that, although some officers who had been transferred should continue to enjoy their State salaries, steps should be taken, when rating the offices, to keep the expenditure down to amounts lower than those then being paid. I can only say that that was anterior to the appointment of the Public Service Commissioner, and that, of course, the individual items of this proposal are matters for the determination of the House upon the Appropriation Bill.

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