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Thursday, 14 July 1904

Mr FULLER (Illawarra) - The honorable member for Lang has dealt with this matter so fully that I propose to add only a very few words to what has already been said upon it. I brought this question before the last Parliament a couple , of years ago, and after the anomalies which then existed had been pointed out to the then Minister of Home Affairs, I understand that the officers of the Public Service anxiously looked forward to the time when those anomalies would be removed. I quite agree with the remarks which have been made by the honorable member for Parramatta regarding the Public Service Commissioner. I have had the pleasure of being personally acquainted with that officer for many years, and I hold him in the highest esteem. If I do not misjudge him, he will warmly welcome the debate which has taken place to-night, and the manner in which his classification scheme has been criticised by the honorable member for Lang. In my judg- ment, the honorable member for Darling was not in any way justified iri accusing the honorable member for Lang of levelling versus Melbourne in any shape or form. I contend that unless the officers engaged in our great Commonwealth Departments are satisfied that justice is being meted out to them, we shall never obtain an efficient Public Service. I have every confidence that the Public Service Commissioner will do his best to remedy existing anomalies. Whilst the honorable member for Lang was speaking the honorable member for Yarra interjected that an officer's length of service was a factor in determining the salary which should be paid to him. I was under the impression that when the Commissioner undertook the stupendous task of classifying the officers of the Commonwealth service, the salaries to be paid to them were to depend more upon the duties and responsibilities of their offices than upon their length of service.

Mr Johnson - The Public Service Commissioner informed me that that was the basis of his classification scheme.

Mr FULLER - When this matter was before Parliament upon a former occasion, it was pointed out that, whereas the Government Analyst in Sydney, who had more than twenty years of service to his credit, received £265 a year, the officer occupying a similar position in Melbourne, and who had only just been appointed, was paid £300 a year. It is well known that the officersin the Excise Department of New South Wales collect as much revenue as is collected in any two of the other States. When we take into consideration the relative work performed by officers occupying corresponding positions in Sydney and Melbourne, it does seem very difficult indeed to understand the way in which their salaries have been determined. As this matter has been ventilated by the honorable member for Lang, the attention of the. Public Service Commissioner will be called to it. Personally, I regard the classification scheme submitted by that officer as one of the ablest documents ever produced in Australia. I also recognise that Mr. McLachlan is so thoroughly imbued with a desire to mete out justice, to every officer in our Public Service that if on further consideration he concludes that the apparent injustices which have been pointed out 'need remedying, he will see that, officers occupying positions in Sydney, obtain their just reward.

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