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Tuesday, 8 November 1904


Mr KING O'MALLEY (Darwin) - I trust that the honorable and learned member for Maranoa will withdraw his amendment. The Commonwealth Parliament should, not, in any circumstances, be swayed bv outside clamour as to what salaries should be paid. We should recognise that if we want ability we must pay for it. The very degrees of B.A., and of LL.B., which Mr. Healy, the Examiner, possesses, are surely worth £100 per annum per letter. We should not offer an inducement to ignorance and stupidity, of which, goodness knows, there are already enough in Australia, without our further encouraging them. This gentleman is to receive a salary of £400 a year. His degrees should make him worth a thousand a year.


Mr Tudor - It is possible to buy such degrees for a few dollars in America.


Mr KING O'MALLEY - One of the candidates for the Presidency of the United States, Alton B. Parker, started in life much as this 'officer did. The country should be proud of such men, and we should be glad to have them in the Commonwealth service. The Public Service of the Commonwealth should set a wage standard for 'Australia. There is no power that is so efficacious in civilizing humanity as good pay for honest work. Why should we take £20 a year off the vote? I have sat in this Parliament for over three years, and have constantly pointed out that the £400 a year, at which we are paid1, is a starvation wage. Now because a young man has struggled to a good position, by reason of his ability we are asked to cut down his salary. I should be ashamed to look an honest man in the face if I voted to reduce the amount by a penny. Indeed, I would vote to make it higher if I could. I would rather be defeated at the next election because I voted to give this officer a substantial wage than I would be returned' because I voted to reduce his salary. I believe in paying our officers wages upon which they can keep their families in comfort, buy them decent clothes, take them to the theatre - or even to the races - occasionally, and enable them to qualify for the battle of life. I know that a good deal is being said about a recent decision in the High Court in reference to the salaries of public servants ; but that ought not to affect our determination. We need to have courageous men - men with pluck - in the Parliament of this country. If we can secure to fill positions of responsibility officers who have earned University degrees, which are the hall-mark of civilization, progress, and intelligence, we should be glad to have their services, and not cut their salaries down to a miserable paltry £350 a year. A Government which would do such a thing is a savage Government, only fit to go into the midnight darkness of Central Africa and hire blackfellows and Chinamen, and certainly not to govern an enlightened country.







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