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Thursday, 30 November 1905

The PRESIDENT -The honorable senator must not refer to a former debate of this session.

Senator STORY - I wish, sir, to make an explanation.

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senatoris forbidden by standing order 399 to mention what he said in a former debate in the session, otherwise we might have all the debates over again.

Senator STORY - In my speech I referred, amongst others, to the case of the postmaster at Mount Barker, and in his report the Commissioner says -

Reference has been made to the salary paid to the postmaster at Mount Barker, and his position has been compared with those of bank managers and State Government officials stationed at that place. It is pointed out that the salaries of these persons range from£320 in the case of one of the bank managers, to£240 in that of the railway station master, while the postmaster's salary has been graded at £210.

Before I made that statement, I had ascertained, by careful inquiry, that the postmaster at Mount Barker was in receipt of £210, subject to a deduction of £21 for rent, thus leavinghis net salary at £189. In his report, the Commissioner goes on to say -

The salary paid by the State Government for this position was £270, with an additional amount of about£50 per annum as commission on sale of stamps and Savings Bank allowance. This office was thus costing the State Government about , £320 per annum. The salary to be paid for the same work by the Commonwealth Government is£210 without allowances, and similarofficers throughout Australia are graded at the same amount. The postmaster at present at Mount Barker continues to draw his State salary of £270, which has not been reduced, and when opportunity offers he will be transferred to an office appropriate to his salary.

When I saw the statement in the Commissioner's report, I made further inquiries, and I am told on the best authority that the postmaster at Mount Barker is in receipt of only £210. The Commissioner should have made careful inquiries before Be furnished a report, because, if that statement be incorrect, and I am prepared to say that It is, it detracts very largely from the value of the report. If, in his opinion, the postmaster at Mount Barker is worth £270, and is receiving that amount, surely an injustice is being done to the officer when he is really in receipt of only £189. I would ask the Minister who represents the PostmasterGeneral to request the Commissioner to explain why, in his report, he made a statement which directly contradicts the statement which I made to the Senate, and which I felt perfectly sure was quite correct.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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