Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Tuesday, 8 November 1904

Sir WILLIAM LYNE (Hume) - I think that I was Minister of Home Affairs at the time this appointment was made, and I remember that considerable difficulty was experienced in securing the services of a really competent man. One objection which was urged against Mr. Healy's appointment was that he was receiving a very low salary in the service of the State. The matter was specially brought under my notice by the Commissioner, and, in turn, I brought it under the notice of the Cabinet. Neither the Cabinet nor myself thought that the fact that he was in receipt of such a small salary should, if his qualifications were as good as they were represented to be, constitute a bar to his appointment Up to that time, Mr. Healy had proved himself an exceptionally able officer. As the Minister stated just now, he commenced his career as a telegraph boy, and worked up to the position which he occupied at the time of his appointment to the Commonwealth service.

Mr Page - There is no objection taken to the individual. My objection is to an increase of ,£50 in one year.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I quite appreciate the honorable member's point. I am aware that the salary paid to the Examiner in the New South Wales service is considerably higher than that which is paid to this officer. Upon his appointment to the Commonwealth service, I think that he received an increase of something like £50.

Mr Tudor - I think that he received an increase of j£i$o.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I admit that it is not, as a general rule, advisable to grant large increases in any one year. But 1 point out that in view of his special qualifications and energy, the salary which this officer receives is not a high one. Indeed, I regard it as being rather inadequate. I have always contended that it is not wise to recognise only automatic promotions in the Public Service. If that plan is rigidly adhered to. we cannot expect to secure the brightest intellects.

Mr King O'malley - We cannot get them for £400 a year.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Mr. Healypossesses very high qualifications. While I think that the Committee acted wisely ' in fully discussing these increases until it obtained a statement from the Minister as to the reasons why they are proposed to be paid, I feel that we may trust the Public Service Commissioner. I knew him long before he was appointed to his present position, and would implicitly trust him to do justice.

Mr Webster - He is not infallible.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - No; but it remains for those who feel dissatisfied because it is not proposed to grant them any increases to put their case before the Public Service Commissioner. He will do justice to all. I am satisfied from what I know of him, that he would not favour any one, and that even the pressure of a Ministry would not induce him to depart from what he conceived to be his duty. It is well to be able to speak in this way of a gentleman holding so responsible a position. Apart altogether from the question of the increases to the Registrar and the Examiner, I find it difficult to understand how the scheme on which these Estimates are based is going to work out. According to the statement of the Minister, the increases proposed to be paid are provided for in detail in the body of the Estimates of the Department, but a deduction is made from the totals at the end on the presumption that they probably will not be paid during the present financial year. If we are not going to grant these increases, provision should not be made for them.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Home Affairs) - All the appeals may not be dealt with by the end of the financial year.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - It is dangerous to provide for increases when it is probable that they will not be payable within the financial year. In such circumstances there is always a temptation to pay them. If by way of a general deduction at the end of the estimates of the Department, we practically struck off the amount of these increases. I doubt whether the Minister would be able legally to pay them, even if the classification were passed before the end of the financial year.

Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - There would be more danger in adding something.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I admit that is so, but say, for example, that the increases to be provided for under the classification scheme amounted to£10,000, and we voted only£8,000, should we be justified in paying the full sum ? If we should, what is the use of making a deduction ? The Minister should take this matter into consideration before allowing the Estimates to be dealt with in this way. The explanation has been made that they were prepared during the term of office of the late Government, and that any alteration would involve a good deal of confusion. That, however, is not a sound argument in support of the passing of the Estimates in this way. They should' be so submitted as to provide for the moneys actually intended to be paid.

Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - A foot-note would explain the matter.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - If a foot-note were included as part of the schedule, it would give power to pay these increases. That course used to be followed in connexion with the Schedule of the Public Works Department of New South Wales.

Mr Webster - It is still used.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Quite so. In the absence of such a foot-note, the State Minister was tied down, and could not expend money just as he might desire to expend it. It would be wise to give permissive power to the Minister to make deductions from or increases to salaries according to the classification as finally dealt with.

Suggest corrections