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Friday, 24 June 1904

Mr KNOX (KOOYONG, VICTORIA) - It is doubtless within the knowledge of the Prime Minister that the postal assistants in the Victorian Service nave not received certain amounts which they regard as due to them under section 19 of the Victorian Public Service Act of 1900.

Mr Watson - I have paid them nearly £19,000.

Mr KNOX - I think that, upon inquiry, the Minister will find that a large number of the postal assistants have not yet received the amounts due to them. I desire to know whether he is in a position to give us an undertaking that the rights which existed before the publication of the classification lists will be preserved, or can inform us whether they have been considered in the adjustments made by the Commissioner.

Mr WATSON - With regard to the payments under clause 19 of the Victorian Act, I may say that I have paid all the sums, which have been so far ascertained, under that head. If there are any other individuals in regard to whom our liability can be determined, I shall take the responsibility of paying them out of the Treasurer's advance vote. In regard to the second question, I shall certainly give no such undertaking. My contention is that the Commonwealth Parliament, through the Public Service Commissioner, should rate the officers at what they are worth, and pay , them what they are worth, if the Constitution will permit. Beyond that I will .not go.

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