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Wednesday, 21 April 1915

Mr PATTEN (Hume) .- The two previous speakers gave to new members some insight into the past history of Federal Administration; but it amazes me to find that, after fourteen years, we are only now discovering that the salaries of our public servants are framed on an unscientific basis. Why was this not discovered years ago? I quite agree that the salaries are most unscientifically regulated, but whether the proposed reduction be £1 or £100, whether it be to enforce a reduction or to suspend an expected increase in salary, on principle, I am not prepared to vote for any reduction of salaries unless a similar reduction is applied to myself. If honorable members will propose a motion whereby the emoluments of members of Parliament are subjected to a similar reduction as is proposed to be applied to the salaries of servants of Parliament, I will support it.

Mr Burns - This is not a reduction.

Mr PATTEN - This involves the holding up of increments that were expected.

Mr Thomas - These are not statutory increments.

Mr PATTEN - In this instance we are dealing with an anticipated increment that has been before this particular officer for nine months. I do not think that it is fitting on the part of honorable members to attempt any suspension of well-merited increases to servants of Parliament, unless we are prepared to submit to the same treatment. If a limitation of expenditure be necessary I will be the first to agree to an equivalent reduction in my own emoluments, as it ia proposed to apply to the salaries of those in our employ. It is not reasonable or fair that salary reductions in any division of the Commonwealth Service should be advocated whilst honorable members are immune. Therefore, I hope the amendment will be defeated.

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