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Thursday, 26 October 1905

Senator CROFT (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Istrongly support the first paragraph of the motion. I am satisfied that wherever women are employed in the Public Service, or, for that matter, in any industry whatever, they should receive equal pay with' men for equal work. The status of woman should be raised, in order that she may enjoy that right which is undoubtedly hers - that of taking her part in the industrial world on an equal footing with men. While women have a right to go into any branch of industry and compete with men, they are surely deserving of the same rate of pay for similar work? Women have entered various branches of industry - the tailoring and boot industries, and many others - but the employers have invariably taken them on for the reason that they are cheaper than men. That is a reason for their employment, which, as a Parliament, we cannot justify. We should not in any of the Public Service Departments employ women merely because their services can be obtained cheaply. I shall take the instance of a lady who is an indoor telephone supervisor in Western Australia. She has been in the Department for elevenyears, and is receiving a salary of£150. We could not get a man to do her work - which I may say carries great responsibilities - at a less salary than £400. We would not expect a man to take the position at a lower salary than that. I strongly hold to the view that the Government should pay the same salary to women as to men in the Public Service. With the fourth paragraph of the motion I also agree, because I am satisfied that proper regard has not been paid to the difficulties whichI suppose exist in North Queensland, and, perhaps, in the Northern Territory, and which I know exist in various parts of Western Australia. With these few remarks I support the motion, more particularly paragraphs 1 and 4.

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