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Friday, 24 June 1904


Mr HUTCHISON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Is the Prime Minister aware that under the South Australian Public Service Act the payment of annual increments to certain public servants is mandatory, and that the Constitution and the Commonwealth Public Service Acts have preserved the rights of the officers. I would point out, further, that the honorable and learned member for Ballarat, when Prime Minister, sought the opinion of his law officers, who expressed the view that these rights were preserved. I would now ask. whether the Public Service Commissioner has power to withhold the whole, or any portion, of these increments?


Mr WATSON - Almost the whole of. the questions which have been addressed to me this morning on the subject of the reclassification of the Public Service have involved a series of legal points which it is extremely difficult for a mere layman to answer off-hand.


Mr Batchelor - Only a layman could answer them off-hand.


Mr WATSON - Probably that is so. I repeat that it is extremely difficult for me to answer such questions without first obtaining the assistance and advice of responsible legal officers. I am not aware that the late Prime Minister was advised that the Commonwealth is responsible for the payment of the increments to which reference has been made. I would suggest to the honorable member for Hindmarsh that he should place his very interesting series of questions upon the business-paper. He will then receive much fuller answers to them than I can be expected to give at the present time.


Mr DEAKIN - I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether the only OrdersinCouncil which the Government have passed are those which authorize a scheme of district allowances, and which give power to charge rent in accordance with that scheme. Of course, I have no interest in personal details. All ' my questions have been directed to the principles which underlie this classification scheme, and to the cost which it will involve.


Mr WATSON - The only OrdersinCouncil which have been passed are those to which the honorable and learned member has referred. The Government, however, have accepted responsibility for the payment of the sum that is involved in the scheme, itself. A statement is made in the Commissioner's report as to the amount in which the adoption of the scheme will' involve the Commonwealth-


Mr Deakin - What about the principles underlying the classification?


Mr WATSON - Concerning that, I may say that there is a report accompanying the document referred to, which will be laid upon the table of the House.







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