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Tuesday, 8 November 1904

Mr WATSON (Bland) - Although some alterations have been made in these Estimates, they were mainly prepared under the direction of the late Government; but owing to the classification intervening, and rendering it necessary to refer them back to the departmental heads for revision, there was no opportunity for their consideration by the last Cabinet. As to the method adopted in framing the Estimates, I have only to say that I gave directions that increases in salaries due under the classification scheme should be specified in every case. It seemed to me that if that were not done honorable members might very properly object to the Estimates on the ground that they did not set forth what was actually intended to be paid. Although the giving of these details might involve some delav, it appeared to. me that it was right that they should appear in order that it might be possible to obtain a true conception of what the classification involved.

Mr McLean - So that we should know the maximum.

Mr WATSON - That we should, so to speak, know the worst. Whatever method be adopted it is somewhat difficult to deal with the position in view of the fact that as the appeals have not yet been dealt with, alterations are still possible in regard to all these salaries. For this year at all events we have to act upon rather tentative lines. We cannot expect to have everything placed definitely before us until the classification shall be completed and dealt with by the Parliament. I d'o not think that honorable members should complain of too much information having been afforded them, and I believe that I adopted the right course in insisting upon the proposed increases being specified in each case.

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