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Wednesday, 2 November 1904

Mr HUTCHISON (Hindmarsh) - I feel that I am placed in a very awkward position. If I considered that this officer was being overpaid I should vote for the amendment; but I need some proof of the assertion made by the honorable member foi Maranoa. It seems to be a very easy matter for officers receiving high salaries to obtain increases, as compared with those who are at the bottom of the ladder.

Mr Page - Does not the honorable member think that an increase of £50 a year is a "fat " one?

Mr HUTCHISON - It depends on whether the salary formerly received by the officer was sufficient. I am not going to say that this officer is either overpaid or underpaid, because I do not know what his duties really are.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I can give the Committee some information on the point.

Mr HUTCHISON - It certainly ought to be placed before us. I know of some members of the service having a knowledge of mechanics, whose appeals have not been sustained, although they are not receiving anything like a fair remuneration, as compared with that given to men in other departments.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Have the appeals been decided?

Mr HUTCHISON - Some of them have been .dealt with by the Board appointed for the purpose. It would not do for me to mention any specific case, because it might affect the position of the officer; but I may say that one man was told by the Board that he ought to be very thankful for what he was receiving, notwithstanding that his salary is the lowest provided for his division. He has been doing the same work for a number of years, and during that time has not received any increase. I should mention, however, that at the end of two years he will receive a small increment. When I learn of such cases, itseems to me that it is high time for us to look into such matters as have been mentioned by the honorable member for Maranoa, and to see that the Commonwealth is receiving good value for its money. If the Minister has any information on the point I should be very glad to hear it before we go to a division.

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