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Friday, 24 November 1905

Senator HENDERSON (Western Australia) - I think that Senator Stewart has gone about the business of reducing this item in rather an uncanny fashion. If he had been reasonable, he would have secured more support. I should have been prepared to vote with him if he had proposed to reduce the salary by £50. I think that a man engaged in secretarial duties of any kind is not worth one solitary penny more than £750 a year, no matter who he is. I have no special desire to knock £50 off this salary. What I want to do is to justify the position which I took up in regard to the Public Service Classification, namely, that, like other simi lar schemes, it aims at giving a substantial advance to the well-paid man, whilst no attempt is made to enable the poorly-paid man to live comfortably.

Senator Mulcahy - The Commonwealth officers are pretty well off.

Senator HENDERSON - Some of them are paid £120 a year. I have often had to live on that amount, and know what it means. I know the true value of such a salary in Australia. I am prepared to support reasonable reductions, with a view to increasing the salary of the lower-paid officers.

Senator STEWART(Queensland). - I am glad that, at least, I appear to have made a slight breach in the wall. It is a beginning. I hope before long to make a further breach. I shall accept Senator Henderson's suggestion, and accordingly ask leave to withdraw the request.

Request, by leave, withdrawn.

Senator STEWART(Queensland). - I now beg to move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to reduce the item, Administrative Staff, " Secretary, £800," by £50.

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