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Basic Wage Royal Commission - Supplementary Report

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_ Presented to the Senate , o?"dered to be printed, 14th April: 1921.


[Cost of P ctper.-,Preparation, not given; 1,300 copies; approximat e cost of printing and publishing, £26.]

Printed and Published for the GOV ERNMENT of the COMMONWEALl'H of AUSTRALIA by .ALBERT J. MULLE'l"l, Government Printer for the State of Victoria. ·

No. 94.-F.3379.-PRICE, 9n.

' .





97. [The paging continues the paging of the Main Report.]


To His Excellency THE RIGHT HoNORABLE HENRY WILLIAM, BARON FoRSTER, a Member of His lVI.ajesty' s Most Honorable Privy Council, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished 01·de1' oj Saint Michael and Saint GeoTge, Govemor-GeneTal and Cornman.der-in-Chid in rznil over the Commonwealth of Australia:


The ' II+atter.s into which your Commissioners WE?re directed to inquire' were · 1. The actual cost of living at the present time, lJ>CQording to standards

of comfort, including all matters comprised in the ordinary e::q>enditure of .ll> hop_l)ehold, fpr a man }Vith a wife and tb.ree children fq;urteen years of ;:tge, the several items and amounts which make up that .cost. 2. The actual c.onespp.n,ding cost of living during each of the last five y13ars. 3. How the basic wage may be automatically adjusted to-the rise .and fall froh1 time _ to time of the purchasing power of the sovereign. The Commission has alr.eady in the Main (presented 19th Nov.ember, 1920) it.s finding as to the actual cost of living for the family described in Clause 1. The that while this cost of living was to be ascertained .as a potentialstep in determining by judioial

or legislative methods, or both, what basic wage should be paid lJ.nder Commonwea.lth s_ anctio_n, the Commission did nob, as is widely supposed, make any ·re.commendation either to Government or to the Courts to what the basic wage should be or as to the way in which i't.S finding of the actual cost of living should be utilized in the determination of the basic wage.

In its original Report, the Commission stated that it had not so far been able to investigation uncLer Cl;:mse 2, beyond the year 19-14,. al!d that it wo-q_ld await furthtr direc-tions

the Government, befor!3 proceeding to complete its duties under Clause 2, with regard to the

y!?ars 1915-1919. The Co111mission was directed by letter from the Prime Minister, on the 27th 1921, to co;rup_lete this. task. work he,en underta:ke:ri already in

anticipation of such a .\iirection, t4e Commission having expressed the opinion that the inquiry was desirable. The present Report deals, therefore, with the result of the investigation u.nder 2, so ffl,r as the ye11rs 1915-1919 concerned, a,nd those results will be presented throughout

in, a,n amalgamFtted form with the res-q_lts for 1914 and 19-20 already reported (.see :PP· 5.3, 59 of Beport). . · -


It will be seen presently that the inquiry lJ.nder Clause 2 has ·an imp.ortant bea.riug upon the inquiry U11der Clause 3 of the Lette+s Patent: It has first, however, to he observed that'part of Gom¢ssion's mcommerl-P-ation under Clause 3 was a th;:J.t a Bureau of 'L.abo.ur a.nd

Indtlstrial Statistics shmJ.lO. be oFg,auized existing members of t4e Public Servic;e, w:t\icP­ should as,certfl,in from time to time the rise or fall in the pur.chasing power of the sovereign in rela,tio:n. to the reasonable standard of comfort, for what is called in the uiain Report, the " typical family " i .e. {such a family as is described i:p. Clause 1). This suggestion was .adopted by the Government, as trom the follo wing from the Prime Minister's Pepartment to the

dated December, 1920. The is as follow:s :-

. Prime Ministe:r;'s Department.

Dear Sir, In continuation of my letter of the 15th December, on the subject of the organization from exis·ting pubJ,ic servants of a Bureau of Labour Statistics to undertake the work of adjustment of the basic wage to the cost of living, I am .dir.ected to inform you that arrangements are being made to give effect · to the reoo:r;nmendations of the and the Commonwealth Statistician is consulted as to the methods to be followed in this connexion.

Yours faithfully, (Signed) . · :M:. L. SHEPHERD, Secretary.

The Commonwealth Statistician, Mr. G. H. Knibbs, C.M.G., made a report to the Minister on 21st December, 19--2-Q. · On 24th December the Government f

Minister of a further report in regard to the rna tter. A preliminary with this object took place between Mr. Knibbs and the

Chairman, but it was the opinion of the Commission that a fuller discussion would be more ·opportune when the material since collected and embodied in the present Report was available. The Commission is of opinion that the proposed Bureau should be part of the organization of the existing Bureau of Cens-tts and Sta-tisties. It was -neve:r --contem-pla-ted by the .Commission

that any n:ew' officers vvould .be needed, as indeed appears :fr.oni the terms of the orig!nal recom- mendation. · ·


' . ·' l


. · (No.TE. --As in the n1ain Report, the term "Food" -in connexion with the Com .. inonwealth Statistician's figures includes a few articles of Groceries other· than food which the Commission has grouped with Miscellaneous Requiren1ents.) The relation of the question under Clause 2 to the questions already dealt with under Cia use 3 will now be considered.

It has been the practice, of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court to adjust the basic wage originally fixed in the Harvester Case, 1907, to fluctuations in the cost of living by utilizing the index-numbers of the Commonwealth Statistici4n published since 1912. The Court has laid it down that these index-numbers are to be regarded only as prima facie evidence, yet its actual decisions have practically corresponded with the variations in the index-numbers. The following passage from the original Report, page 11, may be repeated:- .

· "It has been mentioned (page 9 of this Report) that since 1912 the Commonwealth Statistican, "for statistical purposes only, and originally vvith no intention of having his figures made applicable " either to determining or to adjusting the living wage, has published index-numbers which compare "the cost of, rent, food and-groceries, all taken from year .to year, taking their cost in " 1911 as a basis and calling its in9-ex-number 1,000. The practice in . the Commonwealth "Arbitration Court, followed With minor modifica.tions by State Arbitration_ Courts, been to

' utilize these index-p.umbers as . prima facie evidence for the purpose 'of. obtaining a factor by " which to 1nultiply (and in an epoch of continuously rising cost of living since 1907 it has always "been a question of multiplying) the basic wage of 7s. a day originally fixed in the Harvester Case " :so as to· bring that wage up to date. Thus if the index-number for the year 1914 in Melbourne " was 1105 as compared with 87q in the year 1907 then the 7 s. per day would be multiplied by

:: in order to fix the basic wage in 1915, the 1914 being only available earl;

"in 1915. will at once be seen that assuming 7s.' a day in 1907 to have been enough to cover " the cost of the four sections, Rent, Food, Clothing and Miscellaneous, then to multiply the sum "which included .all four component sections by the factor obtained by combining two of them, "viz., Rent· and Food in a comparative figure for two relevant years, can only be a correct, method ".if the ren1aining components, Clothing and Miscellaneous taken together or separately, also ".vary in a ratio by the same factor." ·

· At this point another matter acutely debated before the Commonwealth Arbitration Court comes into the history of the In 1914 the Commonwealth Statistician found that Rent and Food together constituted (speaking approximately) 60 per cent. of the ordinary expenditure of a household, leaving 40 per cent. for ·Clothing and These

percentages were ascertained as a result of analyzing certain household budgets collected in 1913. Since 1914 it has been assumed that the percentages for Clothing and Miscellaneous (40 per cent.) out of the total cost of living d constant year. This, again, can only

b'e the case if people need year after year exactly the same proportion of money for each component p·art of the necessary cost of living. It was, however, strongly contendea in the years of the War that Clothing in particular had increased in price at a greater ratio than any other section of the cost of living, and this contention the figures now ascertained by this Commission fully justify.

The inevitable result of the cost of necessary Clothing increasing at a greater ratio than necessary Rent and Food was that the standard of Clothing could not be maintained at the same level by U£ing the factor derived from Rent and Food to determine what should be inclusively provided in· the basic wage for Clothing. '·

. The reliability of the index-numbers as a complete test of variations in the cost of living has, therefore, been open to the objection that if the cost of Clothing, plus :Miscellaneous Require1nents, should happen to advance or decline at a different ratio per cent. than· the ratio of advance or decline in the cost of Rent plus Food, then the cost of Clothing plus Miscellaneous Requirements would no constitute per cent. of. the total cost of living. An illustration may be taken from the experience of Perth In 1914 and In 1918-

1914 1918

, , .!'

I Total Percentage to Cost of Living.

Of Rent and Food.

61·5 53·5

Of Clothing and l.VIiscellan eo us Requirements.

38·5 46·5

Though this objection would lie as a .matter of logic against the changes

in the total cost of living from the changes in two only of the component sections of that total



• 1 , It ( e , , ,

cost, it niight happeh to prove unim.portant.·as a matter of actual experience. In the past both and employees have in turn believed that to take the index-numbers of the

Commonweal-th Statistician as a test of the rise or fall in the cost _of living, was 1nisleading. In the ·year 1915, -vvhen drought conditions led to a rapid advance in the cost of Food and before the cost of Clothing had begun to take the rapid ascent, which, later on, was so noticeable in the Commonwealth-employers believed that using the Commonwealth Statistician's index-nu1nbers had the effect of unduly inflating the total cost of living to the adva·ntage of the

employees. rf;his objection was urged on their behalf in the case of the Australian Letter Carriers.' Association v. The Public Service Commissioner and the Postmaster-General, and- in delivering his in that case Mr. Justice ·Powers says (9 C.A.R., p. 67) :- · ·

Mr. Skewes urged in he did in the Linemen's Case, 29th April, 1914, before the President-(!)

That the cost of living referred to by the Commonwealth Statistician 'is based only on food and rent; and (2) that· the great increase in the cost of food and rent during recent years does not apply to all the other expenditure· of the employee. The estimated food and rent to cover only 58 per cent. of the expenditure.·

· F'or r;eason Mr·. Skewes contended that cost of living fixed by this Court in previous cases, based on the figures, was wrong; but he did not produce any evidence to show what the cost of living was at the present

· .

Mr. Skewes did show that, as to some of the items of expenditure included in the unestimated 42 per cent.; it was difficult to maintain the contention that the same increase had taken place, as on food or rent; but, as he did · not show that th.e expenditure, taking the whole of the items forming 42 per ·cent., had not increased in the <1t the same rate, I accept the figures as correct. · . · - .

Personally, I should like to see the living wage based on estimates obtained of other expenditure rent and food. · . · · ·

' Again, in the case of Federated Ar,tificial]J1anure Trade and Chemical Workers' Union and Cuming Smith and Company and Others, .Mr. Justice Higgins, in his. judgment, (9 C.A.R., p. 190) :--Mr .. Derham (who represented the employers), has properly called my attention to the fact that. the figures of the Commonwealth Statistician refer only, to groceiies, food and rent, and· not to other commodities or other

expenditure;' and he urges that there is no evidence of any increased prices except for food · and, shelter. This argument was pressed upon me on behalf of the employers in the case of the post office linemen, and I dealt vvith the argument, as appears in the report of that case . . But after 1915, the employees in turn came to feel that to use the Commonwealth · Statistician's index-numbers was a faulty method of determining the basic wage per n1edium· of the

cost of living, because (they said) Clothing had now advanced at a very n1uch more rapid rate· than Rent plus Food. A great amount of evidence in support of this contention was brought forward' in the case of the Australian Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association and Others v. Public Service Commissioner and Others, and in delivering his judgment in that case, Mr. Justice

Powers said (12 C.A.R., p. 534) :.-- · · . .. '


I was informed that the applications were made because of the general increased cost of living in Miscellaneous Expenditure as well as in Rent, Food, and Groceries, and that the associations proposed to proceed on the lines re£erred to in a statement made .by me when delivering judgment in the case of the General Division Officers of the Trade and Customs Department, on the 30th day of May last.

The statement referred to was as follows :-I am prepared to reconsider any application of the Public Service ; organizations as a whole-but not by one an increase in the basic wage fixed by n:;ty awards by way

of a war bonus during the war; and if it can be proved (1) That the cost of living, including Food, Groceries, and Rent, has increase,d since September last year;· (2) That the cost of Clothing and other necessaries of a worker's home has increased since 1914 to a greater extent than Food, Groceries, and Rent; (3) That the increases are large enough to warrant an increased basic wage; and (4) That the increased cost will in all probability continue, I would make such an award as I thought just. Parliam·ent would still have the right to decide whether thf increased rate allowed, if any, should be paid as a war bonus.

It will thus be that as well as definitely settling long standing controversies before the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, the Corr1mission's task under Clause 2 bas a vital importance in relation .to future adjustments of :the basic wage to the current cost of living. In fairness ·to past it should be pointed out that the method of taking the full

range of commodities and services which go to make up the cost of living, and following up the :fluctuations 'in prices over that full range was a method that could not be adopted until, as was done by .the Commission under · qlause 1, was as to articles, .quantities,

duration and prices, both of Clothing and ot Miscellaneous Requuements. It was, no doubt, the grave hiatus then existing in this prime essential of information .to a large extent prompted the desire expressed by the Judges of the Court for the present

investigation. 12 and 13 of the main Report). Until the money necessary for

Clothing, for l\1:iscellaneous Requirements, for Rent and for Food · could be stated separately in reference to a determined standard of living, it was not possible for a statistician to follow up :fluctuations in . the aggregate cost of these sections, which aggregate constitutes the cost. oL living. The hypothesis that the first two sections always varied directly as the last two sections,

was therefore forced upon the authorities as the only ground upon which tney could esti1nate _ the fluctuation in the .cost oi living by utilizing the system of


It is hardly necessary to lay stress upon the -consideration that an inquiry to determine .the of money for a reasonable standard in Clothing and Miscellaneous

Requirements was, as e.xperience of the Commission has shown, a task ·that could· not ·be undertaken as a matter of detail in the work of a great Department,' nor by the Arbitration Court as part of the hearin,g of one case. . . The present Report will show that this hypothesis was, during the years of war price,s and

up to the year 1920, at variance with the facts. Comparisons throughout this Report have been , made by taking the prices in the month of November in each year. In the year. 1914, no marked fluctuations in ·prices had occurred by November, so that the prices for that year were in reality pre--war prices, as well as pre-drought prices..__but ever since then, as a result partly of the 1915 drought and partly of the War, prices] have fluctuated violently, and never according to the same rFttio of adva:uce in Rent plus Food as in Clothing plus Miscellaneous Requirements.

The figures in support of this statement quoted below constitute a demonstration of the advantage, now obtainable as a result of determining quantities and prices in all Sections, of carrying out in the future that more extended comparison of prices which has · already been recommended by the Commission in the main · Report. The number of items as to the prices of which the Commonwealth Statistician's have hitherto been prepared is in all4fi,_ the number of articles as to which prices can now be compared, includes almost all those 4·6 and about 200 being all of them commodities or services of 'daily necessity. The proposed Bureau can, therefore, bring out the fluctuations in the cost of living with the closest possible approach to certainty as a result of ascertaining what cost of living actually is from quarter to quarter expressed in terms of money.


The methods adopted. by the Commission for the purpose of returning its answer to the questions involved in Clause ·2 of the Letters Patent will . now be described, taking in turn the recognised Sections of the cost of living. , ·.


In this item the Oon1mission followed the same· ·procedure with regard to' the years 1915-1919 as was followed in the rrtain Report, which upon this point may here be reproduced '

The fent stated below as part of the cost of living in 1914 is the/rent for a house siicilar in all respects to that desc!Ilibed on page 22 of this Report,* but inasmuch as there are n-o statistical returns limited to the rent -of ho,uses of that description, it is to adopt as a modifying factor for bringing the present-day rent ·of such a house back to the 1914 a figure which has been obtained by accepting the Commonwealth' Statistician's ratio between the

rents of five-roomed houses as to which he collected information in 1920, and the rents for which returns were sent to him·in 1914. This it has been safe to do because the type of house as to which hou13e agents have been fo r years past sen(Uag in their no the Commonwealth St'atisticiai1 has been .the same throughout the intervening period, and moreover house agents have been, so the Com_mission ascertained during t he taking of eyidence, in the habit of filliJlg in their returns period by period from the rents of the same houses as far as possible. To appiy, therefore, to the five-roomed house of the type determined upon by this Commission the Con_1monwealth Statistician's ratio between

the :rents of five-roomed, houses in 1'9,20 and the rents of similar houses .in 1.914 inv0lves only .one element of hypothesis, aRd -.that 'is,, that the rents lor a house of this kind have :fluctuated passu with the r ents for other :five-roomed houses dealt with in the 00mmonwealth Statistician's computations. (* NoTE.-This was such a house 'as would afford a reasonable standard of comfort for the typical fainily.)

In order to olitain a test ·of the soundness pf the hypothesis last mentioned, the obtained from house agents who had given evidence in Melbourne the actual rents of five-roomed houses for the year 1914-1920, to which latter year their evidence wa;s directed. The ratios of fluctuation being ascertained· frm.n these data over the rents during the seven years in question of some 150 houses, it was found that these ratibs corresponded substantially with those @f the Commonwealth Statistician. It was not considered necessary to apply a similar cheek to the ratios fo;r cities. · -


. The method adopted in the main Report (p-. 52) for the of ascertaining· the

cost-of. Clothing in 1914 may be reproduced · if. The I dicator List deterinined upon has been regarded as furnishing the standard 0f living appropriate to the year 1.914, the Commission having .al!r:eady, in cl.etermining upon aTticles and .qualities for tb.:e pmp.ose .o£ this followed the principle that the standard of 1914: was not now to be lowered.

. 2. The trad.e:rs in Melbourne who furnished the articles in Indicator List have given their valuati@n of those article& in 1914. - From ratio .has been 1914 and 1920 prices for Mel?ourne, aNd

this rilti 9 been . used for the other capitals upon assumptwu.' whiCh appear t0 be a sound. one, that the rate ·of increas.e in price .. over so large a number of articles and so wide a perwd Will have been substantially the same in all capital Cities. · . , .·· . · . . . ' . . ·

_ ·3. As a check upon this method a -list has been made of fair average quality garments o.f the kmd and of the numbet specified in the 1914 a;:td in 1920 from the same tr:aders' catalogues

been calculated so. as to arnve at fqr _ the_ -. _ · · - ·



The same method in substance :was adopted for the years subsequent to 1914. In where the work of the· Conunissi

of cou:r;se, . p·os·sible to· secure from the mms supplying the articles up0n wmoh the Indicator Lists based, the prices for articles in each of the years-intervening. In the oth-er cities

rt 'Yas not so possible. The pnces for 192.0 were ,. o.f course, based upon tp.e, valuation of the articles s·elected as a tentative regimen which the Gommission took with them.. It was. not eon­ necessary to take these articles ag;1in to the cit:i!es and ask the retailers to supply their

_for the intervening years. In each city certain retailers had supplied fair average

quahty pnces for articles enumerated in the I;ndiealt or Lists. These were sent to the firms in question with a req1.1.est that . the fair average· quality prices for the same articles in November of each of the intervemng years· should be given. . · . . ' I . . having, been received and tabulated, they.were applied to the-articles (bearing In 1h1nd their nul1nber and! duration) specified in the Indicator Lists, and thus results were O'bta.ined which gave. the " weighted " ra/cio of var:iati

1920. In determining, in its former Report, the values of the Indicator List of Clothing for the year 1914, it was assum,ed that the ratio of cha'rtge between 1914 and 1920 was the same in the oap:ital cities other than Melbourne, it has been in Melbourne itself. The present .more exhanistive tabulatio·n of thy prices of clothing in t he manner described above shows that· the assumptio? 'V:as s11bstantially correct; The difference is slight,. amounting at the most to Is. 2d. per weelt 1n . · ·


In ascertaining the cost of living in this Section, the Commission was able to obtain reliable quotations of the prices in the years in question of all the articles in the Indicator Lists, exeept fish, fre s];l fruit and vegetables other than potatoes and onions.. . The movement of prices. so ascettained was assumed to be reflected in the prices for fish, fresh fruit, and vegetables. 'Though

this assum:ption is not theoretically satisfactory, yet it is that the price of fish

fluctuates in very fair cor:cesponilence with the price of. meat, and that the price of vegetables, other than potato'es and onions, fluctuates ar,proximately ,;vith the prices of the last-named · vegetables. Whether this be so or not, the item:s :fish, fruit , and veget ables 'only represent weekly expenditures of 1s. 6d., 2s. 8d., and Is. 4d. , Oltt of a total expenditure ·for l\felbourne·i·n November,

1920, of £2 6s. 2d. for F ood (s·ee Indicator List, page 44 of n1ain Report): · The e&'ssumption in question, i herefory, very substarrbially a1:ffect the accuracy of · the finaing as to the cost of living in Food in successive years. ·


_ On page 51 of the main Report will be found a list of miscellaneou_ s items which go to make up the standard of reasonable comfort. All those iten1s permitted of specific information being · obtained as to price E! , the iteins Domestic Assistance, .Ne\lirspapers, &c ., Recreation, &c. With regard Domestic Assistance, the a:ttiount detennined by the Commission was based upon

tlie principle of allowing aJ?, amount which corresponded with certain savings which might be e!tected by a housewife undertaking the t asks alluded to on page 4 7 of t he main Report. These savings represent 5 per cent. on the total cost of Clothing, and accordingly the item of Domestic Assistance during the years 1915 to 1919 has calculated by the same 'percentage on the cost of Clothing ascertained for of these years respectively. vVit;b regard to the item

Newspapers, &c., the variation in the price of the leading daiJ;y newspapers was. taken as the basis, it being t_hat about the same would occur 111 St ationery

The item RecreatiOn, &c., was fixed by obtannn.g the comparative cost In the years unaer review of charges of ad1nission to ordinary entertainmen·bs. All the so fixed by a 'process of estimation are small, a:p.d b.o room, therefore, for any substant wJ degree of error as a result of the methods desctibed.


Table A sets out the cost of living corresponding to that cost in 1920 as determined by the maip_. Report ali .the :years 1914 to 1920 in capital cities ,of the totals

in tb,1s Table will, therefore , -represent the spemfic gnswer of tne omrr::Ission uo the question put in crause 2; viz,, " the actual cost of living according to r'easonable standards of comfort for a man, wife, afid thre·e chlldten during each of the years in question."




CosT OF LIVING, 1914 to 1920 inclusive, based upon the cost of the commodities and services included in the Indicator Lists-quantities and duration as fixed in the Main Report.

. Particulars.

Rent Food Clothing ..

Miscellaneous '·


Rent Food Clothing Miscellaneous


Rent Food • Clothing l\iisceUaneous


Rent · Food Clothing Miscellaneous


Rent Food . Clothing Miscellaneous


·Rent . .

Food . .

Clothing . .



. .

. .

. .

. . .



£ s. d.

0 16 3

1 2 9

0 15 u

0 12 10

3 7 9

1 0 0

1 4 0

0 15 5

0 13 6

3 12 ll

0 13 11

1 310

0 13 5

0 12 10

3 4 0

I o 16 7

.. I .. l J1 5 7

0 15 5

0 13 7

.. 311 2

I o 16 5 1 8 4 0 14 3 I 0 13- 9 3 12 9 .. I o 11 10

. .· '· 1 5 9

.. 0 16 10

.. 0 12 4

. . 3 6 9

1915 . 1916.

£ s. d. £ s. d.


0 16 1 0 16 7

1 10 10 1 9 3

0 16 3 0 17 9

0 13 7 0 13 10

3 16 9 3 17 5


0 19 5

1 11 7

1 o 19 2

I 1 12 , 8

0 16 5 0 18 5

0.14 1 0 14 3

14 1 6 4 4 6


BRISBANE . . 0 13 9 I o 13 9 110 1 1· 10 8 014 1 0 15 11 0 13 4 0 13 6 311 3 3 13 10 ADELAIDE. 0 16 0 0 16 0 1 12 1 1 10 2 0 16 9 0 18 9 0 14 . 2 0 14 8 3 19 0 . 3 19 I 7 PERTH. I o 15 7 0 15 11 1 11 6 1 12 7 : 0 15 6 0 17 4 0 14 6 - 0 15 4 3 17 1 4 1 2 I HOBART. 0 12 4 1 o 12 4 1 12 2 1 10 3 0 17 0 0 19 2 0 13 7 0 13 9 3 15 1 3 15 6

1917. 1918.

,£ s. d. £ s. d.

0 17 3 0 18 5

1 9 6 1 11 2

0 19 11 1 2 6

0 15 6 0 16 9

4 2 2 4 810

0 19 3 1 0 1

1 14 2 1 14 8

1 0 7 1 2 6

0 15 8 0 17 5

. 4 9 8 4 14 8

I -

0 13 11 0 14 6

1 12 3 1 14 2

0 18 4 1 0 11 .

0 14 9 0 16 5

3 19 3 4 6 0

0 16 5 0 17 8

1 9 . 9 1 14 1

1 1 5 1 1 9

0 15 7 0 17 5 '

4 3 2 4 10 11

0 16 3 0 16 5

1 11 7 1 11 4

1 0 0 1 3 2

0 16 4 0 18 3

4 4 2 4 9 2

0 12 9 0 12 11

1 15 7 1 14 5

1 1 3 l 4 6

0 15 3 0 16 8

4 4 10 4 8 6


£ s. d.

0 19 9

1 16 0

1 4 9

0 17 11

4 18 5

1 0 8

2 0 8

1 5 3

0 18 8

5 5 3

0 16 8

1 17 9

1 4 4

0 17 1

4 15 10

0 19 2

1 18 6

1 6 7

0 18 3.


5 2 6

I 0 17 4

' 1 17 7

1 6 d1

0 19 9 I 5 0 9

0 16 2

1 19 0

1 7 5

0 17 9

5 0 4




£ s. d.

1 0 6

2 6 2

1 9 0

1 0 10

5 16 6

11 2


2 ' 6 9

1 7 0

1 1 4

5 17 1

0 17 0

2 3 1

1 6 0

1 0 1

5 6 2

0 19 6

2 -7 2

1 8 3

1 1 2

5 16 1

0 19 0

2 411

1 7 9

1 2 3

5 13 11

0 19 0

2 8 11

1 9 2

0 19 10

5 16 '11

Table B s?ows what course of the wage would }.>e the Harvester Wage of

£2 2s. per week, m Melbourne m 1907* had vaned by apphcatwn of the Commonwealth Statistician's ind ex-numbers for Food, Grocenes, and R.ent m the Fourth Quarter of each of the years specified. It huther shows in these weekly amounts for each city

in each of the 1915 to 1920 mclus1ve, compared With the weekly amount for 1914. Table C gives the weekly cost of living as determined by this Commission for November in each of the·years 1914 to 1920; in addition the :Percentage incr.ease in the weekly cost of living for each city in each of the years 1915 to 1920 inclusive, compared with the cost in 1914.

• It will be seen by t•eference to t he Ma in R eport t hat £2 2s. a week '"'"• in fact, t JJe wage det ermined, not . for Melbcurne, bu$ for Sun•hlne, a suburb 8 mllea out of Melbourne, In the year 1907. (Seep. 11.)




- ..



1914. 1915. 1916. 1917. 1918. 1919. I 1920. -

- *Relative Per-. Per· Per· I R I t' Per- Per- Relative Per- Relative centage Relative Relative centacre e a IVe Relative Weekly Weekly Weekly centage Weekl y Incre:se I Weekly centage Weekly centage Wee kl y centage Increase Increase Increase Increase Wage. Wage. Wage. ,Wage on 1914. ; Wage. " 'age. Wage on 1914. on on 1914. on 1914. £ 8. d. £ "· d. % £ IJ. d. % £ 8. d. % £ 8. d. % £ 8. d. % £ s. d. % Sydney .. 2 17 6 3 7 0 16 ·4 3 5 10 14 •2 3 8 3 18·5 3 9 5 20 · 4 3 19 4 37·7 4 10 9 57 ·4 Melbourne .. 2 13 0 3 3 4 19•5 3 1 4 15•7 3 2 8 18·3 3 6 2 25·0 3 1'5 0 41•7 4 10 7 71•1 Brisbane .. 2 8 9 3 0 1 23·3 2 14 7 12·0 2 18 8 20 ·3 3 2 4 27·8 3 13 11 51·6 3 18 5 60·8 Adelaide .. 2 13 9 3 1 5 14 •3 3 0 2 12·0 2 19 6 10·7 3 4 7 20·2 3 13 4 36 ·5 4 7 0 61·9 Perth .. 2 15 2 2 17 9 4·7 3 0 4 8 · 7 2 19 0 6·9 2 18 7 6•2 3 8 9 24 ·7 3 17 6 40·5 Hobatt .. 2 13 3 3 1 7 15 · 6 2 19 6 . 11 · 7 3 5 11 23·8 3 5 5 22·8 3 17 1 44·7 4 13 4 75·2 ' Weighted Average 2 14 7 3 3 10 17·1 3 2 2 13·9 3 3 11 17·2 3 6 5 21·8 3 16 0 39·5 4 8 71 62·5 (W eighted by Population) . • , . By rclnt1Ve weekl y wage Js meant the wage (as a

The contrasts shewn in Tables B and d constitute the nearest practical comparisons to ·,the cost of living as determine-d bi the Commission which arise from the joint effect in past praetice- {a) of treating .. the Harvester wage as providing the cost of living in Melbourne in 1907; (b) of con1puting changes by the methods hitherto follbwed in the Arbitration Court.

. In order to show t:Q:e difference arising from this second fa ctor alone, the following table has been It shows the Harve·ster wage brought up to date_ by the application of the

;percentage jncreases shewn in Tables B and C of the Commonwealth Statistician and of the ·Commission respectively. The wage for 1914 is (for each town) the wage corresponding to the wage of £2 2s. per week in 1907 if it had been fixed solely by the . a pplica t ton of the Commonwealth Statistician's index numbers for the fourth quarter of that year:-

Town .



1914. 1915. 1916. 1917. 1918.

W Mldy .Amount. Wee-kly .kmouut. · Weekly Amount. Weekly .Amount. Wag'er computed on Commonwealth ,


Weekly Amount.


Weekly Amount;

Statistician's Common- Common- Common- Common- Common- ' Common-

Index-number wealth Commis- wealth Commis- wealth Commis- weaJth . Commis- wealth Commis- wealth Commis· for 4th Statis· sion's Statis· sion's Statis- sion's Statis- sion's Statis- sion's Statis- sion's

Quarter. ticilJ:n''s• method. tician•·s:. tician's' method. tician's method. tician's method. tician's . method.

metlmd. ' methOd. ' method. . method. method. method.

_.::.:._ . - · _____ ,.;_,_ ------ '--:....----·- ',.,...____ ___ ,:;:..__,_ ------·· - ·: · - ------ _.__ ... --·- _ __ _

Sydney Metborirlle :Brisbane Adelaide . :


£ 8. d. £ 8. d.£ s. d.£ 8. 'd. £ 8. d. £ 6. d. £ 0 d.£ s .. d.£ s. d £ 8 . d. £ .s. a. £ s. d. £ (.., .. d

2J7 6: 3- 7 03- 4 !33- ;; 10 ·3 f} 7 3 8 3 3· 10 8 3 9 53 14 7 3 19 4-i 2 i1 4 10 94 12 3

2 ]llf o· 3 3 43 0 0 3 1 43 0 9'> ' oJ 2 83 4 3 3 6 23 9 6 .3 I5 0 3 I 6 II 4 10 7 4 ll I

2 8 9 3 0 12 I4 3 2 I4 7 2 I6 3 2 is 83 ()' 53 2 43 6 6 ·3 I 3 II 3 I3 I 3 I 8 54 011

2 13 9 '3 1 52 19 8 3 0 23 0 I 2 19 63 2 10 3 4 73 8 83 l3 ' 4;3 17 54 7 04 , 7 8

2 I5 2 11 9 2 18 53' (J ()' :3 1 6 2 19 03 3ll 2 18. 73- 7 7 3 8 9 3 16 53 17 64 6 4

2 13 3 3 l 12 19 10 2 1!1 63 0 2 3- 5 11 3 7 83 5 53 1d 6 3 17 14 0 0 4 I3 44 13 2

--- - ' - · ----- ·-----· _ - · .. --- ....._ __ , ...:......._ ___ _ - ---- ___ __;_,.

Weighted'a:ge 2 I4 7 3 3 IO 3 1 0 3 2 2 3 2 6 3 3 II 3 6 3 3 6 53 10 II 3 16 0 3 I8 11 4 8 7 4 IO . 1

(Weighted •• > by Pop11lation')

In Table F, figures are given showing how the wages awarded fron1 time to time in the Comnwnwealth Arbitration Court compare with (1) the Harvester Basic 'Vage, brought up to date by applying to it the Coinhlohwealth Statistician's index-numbers 'for the last quarter iii. each year· under review ; (2) t4e amount of the Commission's finding as to the cost of · livi ng iii' N of the same yeats ; (3) the average for adult Inale employees in the

quarter of the same yeats. · ·

The £o1lowing facts must be borne in 1. The wages are for Melbourne only, as it is thought that for purposes of comparison .. the relating to one city are sufficient. . ' · ·

2. The Arbitration Court's Awards as a rule hav'e a currency of three years, but in the cases marked with an asterisk the "vage was varied as noted before the Award had expired. · , ·

3. With to the column, average adult :vvage includes those fixed · by

Wages Boards in Victoria, which, as a rule,' 'ate lo\ver than in the Atbitration Court Awards. On the other hand, the wages of skilled workers included. 4. As n1entioned l.n the Main Report, the practice of the President in the Arbitration Court was to compute wages according to the i1idex-n-qmbers the

calendar year; the practice of, the Deputy President (JYfr. Justice Powers) vvas to compute aceording to index-:-nunibers bf the twelve months preceding his Award. . In each case the average of the index-:tiumbers for the four quarters in question was taken. ' · I

5. Fr01n the prececl{ng paragraph l.t follows that the Judges ·of' the Arbitration Court at date of making· any of the. Awards did not have before them the fig ures set out in the second of figures in the Table, which have been soselectea in ·point of dat e as c9rrespond with

the last t wd columns. The tates set out in the first column we:re , however, still. in for Ge at the dates of the second column. • '



April 27 ••

MAy 1


President J .)




Waterside Workers Feded.tiori of Austtalia v. Commonwealth Steamship Owners' Associa­ tion and others, and Gilchrist, Watt, Sander­ son and others v. W atersiae Workers' Feaera-tion of Australia ·

*The Australian Telegraph and Telephone Con­ struction Union v. The Public Setviee Com­ missioner and the P ostmaster-General

£ 8 . cl.

2 11 0

per wook

2 13 0'

per week. _

H arvest er Wage · Commis- Averaget

&-COI:hmon- sion's find- . AdUlt Male wealtl:i St atisc ing ·· Employees'

tician (4th ·(November). Wage (4th Quartet). Quarter) .

£ 8 . d, £ 8. d. £ s. d.


I ?-2 13 0 3 7 9 2. 14 7 I !J I I I. t See_ Report No. 10 Labour and Industrial Branch Commonwealth Bureau of Census and statistics.

- Date.



July 30


May 18

Qctober i2

November 24


March 9


,June 7

June 26

June 30


Octoliet 16


:March 21 ..

May 24

Sept. 10

Oct. 3

Nov. 5

Nov. 25

i92d. .

March 12 ..




Deputy President . ,


Deputy President

Deputy President ..


Deputy President ..

President '

Deputy President

TAIUi! F-continwd .. -

The Australian Letter Catriers' Association v. The Public Service Commissioner

Federa-ted Artificial Manure Ttade and Chemical Workers' Un:lon and drimingSmith and others

The Australian Builders' Labourers Feqeration and A, W. Archer and others ·W. Aiigllss and Co. Pty. Ltd. a.nd The Austral­ . asian In9>ustry Employee8 Union; &c.

The Australian Telegraph and _ Telephone Con­ structioh a.nd Maintenance Union and Tbe Public Service Commissioner and the master-General

Federated Glass Founders Association of Aus­ traliS; anti Tk8 Australian Glass Manufactuters Co Ltd. an(f. others Federated Engine Drivers and Fitemens' As­

sociation and The Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Ltd. Australian Theatrical and Amusement Em­ pioyees Association and J. c. Williamson Ltd.

and others Federated Gas Union v.

Metropolitan Gas Gofnpp.ny_arl.a otHers *Federated Carters and Drivers Industrial Union Afistralia ftlnd L. Attlltir and otliers

The,Australiaii PCistal ElectriciaflS Urliofl v. The 1 Postmaster-General and anather, and The I A .. Telegraph and.Telephone ,Gonstruc- . tiaft and Maiiitenance Union v. The Post­ master-General and afi.otlier

*Federated arid Leither, Dtessers Em­ ployMs Uni0n and J. Kennon and .SMs i>ty, Ltd. and others Austr-alas-ian Meat industry :Employees tJnib:h

and J. C. Hutton and Co. Pty. Ltd. and others Federated Carterl'! and Drivers' Industrial Union of Australia v. Addis Brothers and others FedeMted Trd:des arld J. ltnd A.- .Archer

and others Australian Commonweaith Public Service dlerical Aesooiation and the Public Commissioner and Gthers .

The Federated. Td.nhers and Leather Dressers En1ployee8 l.Jhil)'ti of Australia and J. Kennon and Sons Pty .. Ltd. , . .

Federated Stotemen and Packers' Uniort of Aus­ tralia and tlie Australian. Merca:.ntile Land and Finance Co. Ltd. and others

The Federated Millers and Mill Employees As­ sociation of Australia arid Brunton and Com­ pliny and others

Basic Wa:ge, Melbourne.

132 0 0

per annum ·or 2 10 9

per week. 2 13 0

per week.

3 1 2

1 per week.

3 0 0

per wee·k. 144 0 0

, pet annum or 2 15 5

per week.

3 3 0

per week.

3 0 0

per week.

s·o o

per week.

3 3 0

per week. 3 0 0

per week.

162 0 0

per·ahntim or 3 2 4

per week.

3 4 6


3 5 0

.per week, 3 6 0

per week; 3 B 0

per week. 3 5 0

Jfei: Week.

3 6 0

per week.

3 9 0

per week.

3 10 6

per week. ·

t Bra quartet ; 4th Quartet· not aV:\ilahie. '


_Waae Harvester & Common· slon's ftnd·

Average Adult Male Employees' Wage (4th wealth Statis- ing tician (4tb (November).

Quarter,) Quarter).

a 6 a 16 9' , 2 la a

3 a 1i 5 2 is Lo


3 3 0 4 2 2 3 3 0

3 6 0 4 8 10 5 &


I 3 15 0 .4 18 6 3 12 6

4 11 0 5 16 6

· Ih the bourse of its judgment upofi Basic Wage in the Full Court of Industrial Arbitration (Mr. Justice McCawley and Mr. Justice McNaughton) spoke as follows (15th February, 1921) The same learned Judge (the President of the Qommonw;ealth Arbitr!1tion Court), in an article published in the Harvard" Law Review" of.December, 1920, t-hus refers to this basic wage, [i.e., the basic wage as awarded from ,

time to time by the ·cam.monwealth Arbitration Court]:=-'' In finding the basic wage· the Court uses a · rough estimate \vhich it made in ari. mquiry ·fn as to 'fair' and reasonable remuneration/ and the Coti.rt varies the U. per day, 42s. per week, as then estimated in ratio that the cost of _living has increast;d since 1907. But there is ht::l doubt that tlle rdtigh estifiHitie· made' Court iii 1907 ought to· be superseded 6r revlsed oy a new made

after so marly years h!l!ve as to the absolute cost oi living." ·

. He that the \vage of 7s. per day fixed by him in the ·Harvester Case involved a . rise in tne standard. of life, remarking, in the article refertecl: to-'' By a curious piece of good fortune, the standard of lite was actually raised at the beginning, before the application of the .StatisHcian;-s figures; and the raised standard-not the previous been upheld in a long series of awards. For the very first case that oa:tne before the preseht President

was a; special in which the had to decide (for the purpose of art Excise Tariff) whether certain manu­ facturers were giving 'fair and reasonable remuneration' to their employees, ahd he had to make up his mind what was' fair and reasonable.' His conclusion was that a wage of 7s. per day, 42s, pet week, was the least wage that would be sufficient for wholesome livit1g in Melbburne, and the manufacturers were not payi;flg so much. The wage at

the time for the labourer was 5s. or 6s. per day. I think that I am close to the mark when I say; that even for men in regular woFk, the average wage was not more than 5s. 6d. per day, 33s. per week. This would mean that the stand:ud was raised by over 27 per cent. in 1907 ; and this raised lias been preserved ifi the succeeding awards, which increases proportionate to the increase in the cost of living."



. · This "rough estimate," which " by a curious piece of good fortune" raised the standard of life, has remained the basis, not only of Federal awards, but also, in a large measure, of State awards. The fixing of a basic wage requires a det ermination of what ought to be the standard of living, of what approach to that standard is practicable and ought to be prescribed, and of what sum is necessary in wages fo r t he maintenance of that standard. For the due det errnination of t hese matters it is manifestly desirable that t he relevant fa ct s should be ascertained with such precision as may be reasonably The Basic Wage Commission has shown ho w imperfect and incomplete were the mat erials upon whic h the Harvest er decision was based (pp. 9- 13 of the Report).

It remains only to add that between the theoretical basis of the standard which this Commission has determined and the standard as defined in the Harvester · Case there is no difference. The t erm used in the Letters Patent was " reasonable standards . of comfort, including all matters comprised in the ordinary expenditure of the household for a man with a ·

wife and three children under 14 years of .age." The standard as defined in the Harvester Case is '' the normal needs of the average regarded as a human ·being living in a ci vilized community." As will be seen by the Report of the Commission under the headings " Decision as to the Class of Worker " and " What are Reasonable Standards of Comfort" (pages 14-J.S of the main Report) this Commission has throughout its task considered that " the normal needs of the average employee regarded as a human being living in a civilized community " are exactly rcaraphrased in the Letters Patent by the term standards of comfort," the word

' man " being used as the equivalent of the words " average employee" as will appear from the concluding sentence now quoted of the Commission's "Decision as to the Class of Worker. " . . The Commission, therefore, has determined reasonable standards of comfort, not by refer ence to any one type or group of employees, but by reference to the needs which are common to all employees, followin g the accept ed principl e that there is a standard of living below whi ch no ein ployee should be asked to live (p. 17).


In the light of the ·figures now ascertained the Commission has the honour to report so far as the years 1915 to 1920 are concerned .fluctuations in the cost of living have not been

correctly determined, and could not be correctly determip.ed, by using the limited material up till now at the disposal of the authorities. Further, that such fluctuations in the cost of living may, · by the use of the materials set out in the main Report as to the cost of living in all its branches, be ascertained with the closest possible approach to accuracy. 1t follows that the methods already proposed in the main Report, Division III,. for adjusting from time to time the basic wage to the rise and fall in the purchasing power of the sovereign should be adopted. . .

THE AMERICAN MINIMUM QUANTITY BU:DGET FOR A WORKER'S FAMIL.Y OF FIVE PERSONS. In the M;ain Report at page 17 an allusion was made to the Tentative Budget Inquiry conducted in the United States of America in. the year 1919, but it was not possible from that inquiry to compare the results arrived at in America and those included in the Main Report. Since then the Commission has been able to study, in the June 1920 Monthly Labour Review of the

American Bureau of Labour Statistics, the methods and conclusions' of that · Bureau as to the " Minimum Quantity Budget Necessary to Maintain a Worker's Family of Five in Health and Decency." · ·

The subj ect dealt vvith by the Letters Patent of the Australian Commission is so important to the daily life of the community that an account of similar work carried out in America by the Bureau of Labour Statistics, of which Dr. Royal Meeker is the distinguished head, cannot fail to be of practical value for both countries.


The objectives of the Australian Commission and of the American Bureau will first be described. . . .

The cost of living was to be ascertained by this Commissio.n as a. potential step in determining by judicial or legislative methods or the be paid _Commonwealth sanction.

In America, where _wages _are not either by by that delegation

of authority whwh the exerCise, the obJeCtive of the IS thus stated (p.1) :-

The Bureau of Labour Statistics pr!'lpared primarily for the use of the Congressional Commission on Reclassification a tentative quantity and cost necessary to maintain a family of five in health and decency in Washington, D. C. It is even more Important to establish a quantity budget for the man 's fam ily than for the clerical family. a quantity budget is needed for the more

acc>nrate det ermination of the cost of maintaining a workmg man's family in h ealth and decencv, and also for t he more accurate calculation of changes in the cost of li vin g. This tentative quantity budc:ret for

a worker's family constitutes the bureau's best estimat e at this time of what should be included in the family budget of the working man.




'Though the' American inquiry was not speCifically undertaken for the purpose of dete'rmining wages, it will be utilized in future bargaining as to wages. In many progressive

factories and establishments in America the system exists of paying a standard wage, to which is added in. ;t sepaqt e pay-envelope an amount · which varies with the cost of living, and in some establishments, regard is had to the number of children in the individual employee's family. For such purposes, the Bureau's quantity budget would be certainly appealed to as an authority.


. ' The outstanding difference in method is that the American Bureau carried out its inquiry without any public eyidence, obta,j_ning its data (1) from household budgets, (2) from.interviews with families, (3) from clothing experts, (4) from the experts of the Committee to study the Relationship of Standards of Living to Health, National Conference on Social Work, Office of Home EGonornics (Mi ss Caroline L. Hunt). The inq'Uiry was, therefore, in the nature of an economic research carried out by official experts and statisticiaJ;J.S. The Australian inquiry has been conducted in public before a Commission ,representative of the community, by the judicial method of taking evidence on oath in open Court and subject to cross-examination. The reason for this method was that the Letters Patent involved determining what are " reasonable standards of comfort " and upon this fundamental and preliminary question it was essential that the community itself should have ·the right of audience rather than that it should have the question determined in advance by experts, however skilled and experienced. In the American inquiry the families selected for study in regard to Household Equipment spent annually from $1,500 to $2,100 (say £300 to £400) per annum, and were for this reason regarded by the experts as "presumably living at a fairly decent and healthful standard. Their household equipment, therefore, may be regarded as reasonably sufficient in quantity and quality, although of course not luxurious." · These and similar phrases in . the Quantity, Budget indicate that the level of living for the working man chosen by the American experts, was much the same as the "r·easonable standard of comfort" postulated in the Letters Patent. . The cost of living in Australia, at such a standard, has been ascertained as about £5 16s. per week (equals about £300 per annum) and t his amount was the minimum taken by the American experts who selected families living "at a fairly decent and healthful standard." The purchasing power of money in Australia is, however, believed to be higher than in America. . The fact that the American investigators first fixed a level of income which would justify the presumption that families living at that level were enjoying a reasonable standard of comfort, confirms the view of this Commission (see Main Report, p. 17) that under the current Australian doctrine "even the humblest worker ought to receive a wage which will afford him 'reasonable standards of comfort.' " The American inquiry at the outset " avoided the pitfall of supposing that, because the humblest -worker ought to be paid ' the actual cost of living, according to reasonable standard of comfort,' therefore, that 'aetual cost of living, according to reasonable standard of comfort ' must be ascertained by finding what the humblest worker does actually expend." (See Main Report, p. 17). It is of interest to add that Mr. H. F: Giblin, the Government Statist of Tasmania, in his Budget Inquiry in 1920 (seep. 26 of Main also selected families who were known to be workers living in reasonable comfort with thrifty management, and that his finding for Hobart in August, 1920 , was £6 per week. THE FAl\HLY PROVIDED FOR. The American Bureau takes a family composed of man, wife, boy of twelve, girl of six, and boy of two. · _ The Australian Commission took the average ages of three children under fourteen, and its therefore consists of man, wife, boy of ten and a-half, girl of seven, and boy of three and , • Foon. In both inquiries scientifi? material, as well as the of household inquiries, was utilized in fixing the quantity of food to be allowed, With regard to the sCientific aspect of the subject, both- inquiries followed the method of first fixing by calories as per man per day the allowance necessary. In both that amount was as calories. In equatmg the other members of the family GO the man, the Amencan Bureau, m determining co-efficients, 'utilized la,boratory. experiments, and made estimates , taking into account the factors of age, . weight, occupation, and activity. This Commission, after an examination of all the available 'lvritten material dealing with the subject and the opinions of medical witnesses, adopted as authoritative Atwater's scale, of co -efficients.


The following table shows for both inquiries the equivalent "man unit" value! assigned to each member of the family :-u.s.A, Australia.

Man 1 ·00 Man 1 ·00

Wife .. ·90 Wife ; ' .. ·80

Boy twelve ' . ·90 Boy ten and a half ·60

Girl six ·40 Girl seven .. ·50

Boy two .. , ·15 Boy three and a half ·40

Total " man units " 3·35 TotAl" man units" 3·30

- While the totaJ weekly calories per familyis in the A-merican finding 82,075, and in the Australian 80,850, yet the tables of aotual foods show a wide between the quantities of the various kinds included, the Australian allowance more meat; and sngar thall the American allowance, but less dairy products, fruit, and vegetables, ,In both inquiries there was ,a close . co.nforrnity to the usage of people in the respective countnes, as shown by analyses of household budgets submitted. both give the same; or the same, energy value in calories, and contain proteins; fats, and in sufficient quantities and in the right proportions, . COMPARISON OF COST OF THE FOO:O REGIMEN, It is, of course; impossible to'llirectly co:t:tttHttEi the cost of the two regimens given in the supp1eml:!nt to this Report. In order to sho·w in so:r:tte measure the diftetence in their they hUJve been in two ways. The cost of the two regimens has bee:t1 c0mputed at ·American prices*, and aiM at Australian prices. Cost AT AMF;RiOAN PRICES. American Regimen. Australian Regimen. 16 · 7i dollars = £3 9s. 8d. 17 ·1$ dollars = £3 lls. 7 d. CosT AT AusTRALIAN PRicEs. American Regimen. Australian Regimen. £2 7 s. 6d. = 11· 41 dollars £2 5s. 6d. = io · 91 doilars. It '\vill be seen that in America the American Regimen is cheapE!t than the Austtali3Jn, and that in AustmHa the Australian Regimen is cheaper than the Arrietican Regimen. The difference in either case is not very great. 'HOUSING. The basis of thi:l Com:tnissibn's finding to aniotiht to be allowed for housing is given on page 22 of the .Report as " the bl'dlfiatily pa:id by the tenant of a five-roomed in sottnd tenantable condition, not actually cNLmped as to allotment, situated in decent shrfoilndings, and provided with bath, copper and tubs." The American standard lays down for the average family of five persons "a house of five rooms consisting of living room, dinirtg tOQtn, kitchen and two bedrooms," but for the standard family ( of husband, wife and three children, boy aged twelve, ,girl six, .and boy two), it is suggested the follt:Jwing p;ractical arrartgemerit of the hottse should be adopted . --Three bedrooms, a living room, ancl a combination kitchen and dining room. . . · It iEJ specified -that the lit:Juse shotild alst:J contain a batnt6tltl1, with ttJil(:Jt arrangements ltnd ptopei' sabltabioii and drainage. . . · . It is further tated by the Bureau that the health and decency requiremeht fur the standard family will necessitate a floor spatle bf approXImately ·560 square feet or if space is provided for bathroom, closets, hall) and stomge space, _gross area should be 660 square feet. No specific measurements \vere laid down hy the, . ln ca!le is there any attempt to specify the num:tnum allotment upon which such a 1:wtise should be built. · . The Australian Coilimissioii, of the opinion that of approximately 6,000 feet is in highest degree desuable, was not m v1ew df the evidence, and of what was . seen during inspections, to lay do"rn such an allotment as indispensable to comfort (vide Main Report, p. 20). .




Both the American Budget and the Commission's Indicator Lists follow the method o£ giving for each member of the typical family full particulars of t he kinds of articles of ' clothing selected, and the duration or time whiph such articles are expected, on the average, to give reasonable comfort to their wearers. In each case the ob ject ive pursued was to ascertain th.e necessary

annual replacements. , The standard aimed at was the same. The Australian Commission laid down (p. 29 of Main Report) as requisites :- A good wearing quality, c 1isregard of caprice in fashions, a good .appearance, and a limitation to necessary articles, " giving weight within sensible limits to tile consideration that Australians are a well-dressed community " (p. 32). ,

The American Bureau speaks of its a;s

The le vel of healt h and decency in clothing has been interpreted -as a ievel which not only takes into account t he physical neecls of warmth, cleanliness, and roru;Eort, b ut also has such regard for appearance and style as will permit t he family members to appear in public, and within their necessarily rather narrow social cirde, w.ith neatness and sell-respect. In other wmds, t he clothing staadards .of the family ,

arc intended to prpvi& a fair degr€.8 of tkat mental satisff!;.ction which follows being reasonably well­ dressed. Bnt , while admitting the desirability of a nwre generous wardmbe, an e ffort ·has .been llJJj,de to aUow only those quantities of clothing con si11tent with the minimum requirement for hea'lth and decency, and, where a doubt has existed, to err on the side of conser vatism. (Mont'hly Labour Review,

already cited, p. 6.1

The following compariso:rts may be


The general agreement between the two lists is very close. In BRits, ties, shirts, coilars, working trousers, overcoat, and umbrella there is entire agreement or only a negligi,ble difference. ' -

In only a few is the Australian allowance than_ the American. A felt hat in America has to last two years as against one year in Austrail:ia, hut the American wearer is in addition provided with a straw hat each year. · One pair of br.aces are expected to last a year in America, while in Aastralia, in addition to one pair of o:vdinary braces a year, an additional better pair is allowed, which is to las-t t,h'£-ee years. On the other hand, the American Budget allows one belt .ev-ery three years.

In boot repa,irs an allowance of three half-soles and heels is made for each year in the Australian List. In the American Budget the apowance is one whole sole and one half-sole and heel. The items where the allowance is greater in the American Budget are

Soclcs.--Twelve pairs (cotton), as against .six pairs (wool) in the Australian List. Underwear. - The AmericaR allowance is .fiye .suits per y.ear, in Australia two. Night Atti're. -- In Amet:ica two nightshirts, in Austr.alia one aNd a half pairs of p yj.a1nas per year are specified. ·

W o:rking BooCs.- In America two pairs a y.ear, in Australia one and a-half pairs a -year. the American ::f3udget 7 p er .c.ent. of total .cost, in the Australian Li8t

1 per cent. of total cost. ,

There are no · items in the Australian List which are not t.o be fo und in the Bu-dget. The followi11g ite-ms appear in the Budget, but do not appear in the


GL-oves (leatheT}, one pair a year. Gloves (cotton), .six pair-s a year. Cap, one a year; Rubbers, one pair a year. Garters, two pairs a year. Cleaning and pressing, one suit a


Comparisons are more difficult to make in the ·case of the wife's clothing than in the .case of the husband's. The items where the ammal number is the same are hats, nightdresses, umbr.ellas, iJ,nd shoes. The annual number of blouses and skirts is m0re in the Australian List, but it has to be remembered that the Australian mlS'tom of wearing skirts and blouses is recognized, whereas in

A-mel'iea greater provision is for full dresses. _ The only 0ther items for which the provision is greater in the Australialil. List than in tJh:e Atneriea-n Budget are aprons, fom a year in the Australian as compared with one in the American, aRd -gle> , tw·o pairs a yeaT, as compared with one and a half pairs_

In all '0the-r iten_ lS, except those enumerated in the two preceding paragraphs, the provision is grea;ter in the American than in the Australian :fi:n_ding. The is o?-ly small ex?ept in the case of costum!;l,s and dl'esses, where the duratwn. allowed 1s tx-vo years m the Amencan...


. l ' . ' . . . : '

tegunen as against three years in the Australian; p!3tticoats, where the Australian finding is one white and one .dark in three years, and the American one white one a year and. one dark .one every years ; wool coat (topcoat), Australian one in four years, American one in three years; In this latter case, however, a golfer to last three years is · specified in the ·Australian

and not in the A1nerican iriquiry. - · · .

In the Am.erican Budget one pair o£ rubbers a year is allowed, and also an allowance for cleaning and pressing 'the wool suit (costume) once a year. These items are not allowed in the Australian · I.Jist, but one pair of one gossan1er, and one veil per year are allowed in that List and not in the Arnerican. ·· · ·

. The allowance for sundries is in the case of the American Budget 8! per cent. of the total cost of the wife's clothing and in the Australian List 3i per cent.


It has already been stated that the age of the eldest of the three children was fixed in the American inquiry at twelve years, and in the Australian at ten and a half years. The one and a half years difference, however, does not appreciably affect the kind of clothes. or the durability of them, though in actual practice the smaller size required for the boy of ten and a hal£ as J compared with that required for a boy of twelve would probably be a little less costly.

The same findings, both as to the article and its duration, is made in both provisions in the case of -suits, jersey, summer coat (overall), handkerchiefs and ties. The allowance is greater i:ri the American Budget than in the Commission's finding for overcoat, Anierica one in two years, A1-1stralia one in three years; pants, America three pairs a year, Australia two pair:s a year; shirts, America five a year, Australia four a year; stockings, America twelve pairs a- year (cotton), Australia four pairs a year (wool); underwear, America five suits a yea;r, Australia two singlets a year; pyjamas, America two pair& a year, Australia one and a half pairs a year; boots, America five pairs a year, ·Australia three pairs a year; boot rep;:Lirs, America :five a year, Australia two a year.

The only iten1s in which the Australian finding is greater than the An1erican are head gear, Am.erica two caps a year, Australia one cap and one felt hat each year, and one straw hat to last two years; braces, Australia one pair a year, America one belt to Jast two years; collars, Australia three a year, America no allowance. . .

The An1erican Budge't includes t wo pai:r;s of gloves, one pair of rubbers, and two pairs of garters (to be made at home) each year, and an allowance for sundries of 3 per cent. of total cost, none of which items appear in' the Indicator List of the Commission.


The girl provided for in the An1erican Budget is six years of age, in . the Commission's Report, seven years of age, q, difference of one year. · It is probable that requiremen:ts of a girl of six will be of the same kind and cost as that of a girl of seven. . The only items in which there is exact agreement is that of handkerchiefs, where the

number is six a year, and the sweater or jersey, one in two years in both cases. In all other items common to both lists the allowance is greater in the American J?udget than in the Indicator List of the Commission. -

The An1erican Budget allows one apron (horne n1ade), a pair of rubbers, two pairs of garters and one pair of gloves a· year., items which do not appear in the Indicator Lists of the Commission. No allowance is n1ade for b.oot ·repairs in the American Budget, while the allowance in the Indicator Ljsts of the Comn1ission is two repairs a year. ·


In-both cases the third child is assumed to be a boy, but there is again a difference in the · ages; the A1nerican child being one of two years of age, and the Australian one of three and a half years. It is probable that the difference in age in this case will materially affect the kind of clothing worn. For instance, the boy of -two in America is provided with dresses, roinpers, cotton suits, overalls, &c., all of which ,are to be made at home, while the Australian boy of three and a hall is provided with suits.

As already stated, the difference in the age of the youngest child makes comparisons between the garments provided somewhat difficult. In such as comparable it will be seen that for jersey and nightshirts the .allowance is the same Ill both .hsts. ·

For all other articles the provision is greater in the American Budget than in the''Australian. The items which occur in one list and not in the other arei--'--in the American, mittens one . pair a year, garters two a year, underwaists four a an · allowance of 6 per cent. of

the total cost for sundries; in the Australian, boot repairs one a year, handkerchiefs three a year, braces one pair a year, collars two a year, blouse coat one a year, and shirts two a year. . With regard to boot repairs the American Bureau states that " for the two younger children shoe repairing is not _ considered feasible and provision has not been made for it."




· · It 'vas found difficult both in America and Australia to prepare a quahtity regimen £oJ; . many of the iten1s which go to 1nake up what is generally described as miscellaneous expenditure, and, .c?nsequently the only way in which such iten1s can be set out is in the form of a money prOVISIOn.

The list given in the Supplement is self-explanatory, and shows that with the exception of stationery and stan1ps, an1usements and recreation, and tobacco, in which three divisions the estimate is greater in the Australian than in the American finding , the expenditure upon miscellanequs items is nuwh greater in the American Budget than in the Australian finding.

A list has been prepared (see Supplement to this Report), utilizing Quantity · Budget and also the_Tentative Budget of the American Bureau. ·

vVe 'have the honour to be, Your Excellency's xnost obedient servantsl

• I

. (Sgd.) (Sgd.)


(Sgd.) .

(Sgd.) (Sgd.) (Sgd.)

A. B. PIDDING'l'ON, Chairman .

R. CHENEY, Commissioner.

.HARRY C. GIBSON, Commissioner.

W. D. GILFILLAN, Comn1issioner.

ERNEST E. KEEP, Commissioner. THOS. C. MAHER, Commissioner. ALBAN C. MORLEY, Commi;:;sioner. ·

(Sgd.) JAS. T. SUTCLIFFE·, Secretary and Statistician. Offices of the Inter-State C'mnmission, Melbourne, 2nd April, 1921.




R -.- ..t:''!-1 ,

· In the Supplement to this fU:lllists are given which peFruit aLan exten.d:ed comp.arison the findings of the two in the sections Food, Clothing, · a.nd ·


Br, ro,U.s Breakfast food Bies

Crackers ..

Flour Cornmeal Rice Macaroni

Meat and fish

Dairy products­ Eggs .&ozen9 Fresh rq.ilk g.uf!-rts) · Condensed milk: ..

Cheese -Butter · Lard, &c.

Vegeta hies­ Potatoes Onions Other vegetables

Fruit­ Fresh

Sugar ..

Molasses Coffee Tea ·


Summer suit

" " Hat, straw , (felt)

Socks Ties Belts Suspenders '(braces) Shirts t working)

11 (dress)

( .

J •

.If .•


9 '6 lq$. 1•3 ,

·A . ''

·3 ,.,

7•5 "

•5 "

·s ,

•6 "

2I ·o ,

8 ·5 lbs .

' 8 ·p, "


Fiour Cornflour Rice ,

and fish-

. Beef Mutton Bacon • I

-Dairy products­ Eggs (1 dozen)


At]jtrali• · I-tttij()atQr f4,t,

20 lbs.

"r'1 •5

3 "

•5 "

·5 "

25•5 "

8 ·o lbs • 4•0 " •5 " 2·0 " 14·5 " 1 ·5 lbs. 2 •_ (j lbs. 3,0 ·.S ,


•4 "


:fresh milk (7 quarts) 15•4


r !o f) "

37·2 "


I5 ·I lbs.

1·4 "

12 •1 "

28·6 "

11·8 lbs.

11·8 lbs.

3·1 lbs. ·7

" ·8 " ·2 " .2·1) ,,_ , .


Vegetables­ Potatoes Onions Other Vegetables

Fruit­ Fresh Jam Dried fruit

Sugar Treacle Coffee Tea

QQndim.&Dt.§ ..


, .

U.S.A. Budget.

1 in 3 years I in 3 years 1 a year 1 in 2 years 12 pairs a year

2 a year ..

1 in 3 years 1 a year ..

5 a year 1 a year ..

' .

2•0 "

18·.9 "

11 lbs:

1•5 " 8·0 " 20·5 "

8 ·O lbs. 2•0 " ·5 "

10·5 "

5 ·5· lbs. ·5 " ·25 ·5

" Is. pe,r week

Australia Indicator J,ist.

} 2 in 3 years

1 a year (wool), 6 pairs a year 2 a year

It a year 4 a ye;u 5 in 3 years

Union suits (winter) , , (summer)

Collars Handkerchiefs Nightshirts Working trousers

Overcoat Umbrella ... Boots (best) , {working)

repairs (whole sole) , , . {hal£ sole and heel)

Sundries ..

Gloves (ieather) . , (cotton)

Cap Rubbers ..

Garters Cleaning and pressing

Hat (summer) , (winter)

Suit (wool) . Dress '(winte'f)

, '(house,) Skirt (cotton)

Blouse ( di--ess) . .

Corset covers Brassieres Union suits Combinations (muslin)

Nightgowns Petticoats (white) , (dark)

Corsets Kimono Aprons

Stockings (cotton)

Handkerchiefs Gloves (summer) , (winter')

Coat (wool) ·

Umbrella Shoes (summer) , (winter)

Repairs (half-sole and heel) , (heels only)

Rubbers · Cleaning and pressing suit


Overcoat or mackintosh Suit (wool) Pants (wool) ·" (cotton)




U.S.A, Budget.

2 a year

3 a year

6 a year

8 a year

2 a year

2 a year

1 in 4 years 1 in 3 years .1 pair in 2 years 2 pairs a year

1 a year ..

1 a year · ..

7 per of total ..

1 pair a year 6 pairs a year 1 a year

1 pair in 2 years 2 pairs a year 1 suit a year


U.S.A Budget.

1 a year

1 in 2 years 1 in 2 years 1 in 2 _years 2 a yea!' (to be ,

home made) ·2 a year 1 in 2 years

lin 2 years 3 a year (to be

home made)


" Costume {wool) {summ-er) -

Skirt (blu-e 'Serge) , (tweed)

Blouse {silk) (voile) (cambria) , (winceyette)


Combinations (wool)

Australia Indicator List.

flannels, 2 a year underpants, 2 a year 6 a year

6 a year

pyjamas, 3 in 2 years 2 a year

1 in 4 year.s 1 in 3 years 1 pair in 2 years 3 pairs in 2 years

shoes, 1 pair in 2 years

\3 per year j ' 1 pe,r cent. of total

6 3

Australia Indicator List. 1 a year

.. '

1 in 2 years 1 in· 3 yealls 1 in 3 years

1 in 3 years 1 in 2

1 in 2 years 1 a year

3 in 2 years 3 in 2 years 4 a year 2 a year 2 a year

q a y;ear '2 a year , ..

1 pair a 1 pair a y'Bar 1 in 2 years . 3 i:o. 2 years

1 pair a year 2 a year 2 a year 1 a year

1 a year

2 a year

1 in 2 vears 1 a (to be.

home made) 8 a year

8 a year

1 pair a· year 1 pair in 2 years 1 in 3 years

1 in 3 years 1 year

1 pair a year 1 pair a year 3 pairs a year 1 pair a year

l a year

8l- per cent. of total cost

Undervest (woollen) , (cotton)

Bloom-ers (winter) Nightdresses .. ' Underskirts (white) , (dark)

Corsets Dressing-gown Aprons .

Stockings (cashmere) , , .(cotton)

Handkerchiefs. - Gloves (silk) , (cotton)

Topcoat Golfer UmbreUa Shoes (be13t)

, (second)


Slippers Gossamer Veil Sundries

• ELDEST BOY'S CLOTHING. U.S.A. Budget, age 12.

1 in 2 years 1 a year

1 pair a year 2 pairs a year

Overcoat Suit Pants (wool)

1 in 3 years 1 in 3 years 1! pairs a year · 1 in 3 years 4 a year

3 a year

3 a year

6 a Jear

1 pair a year 1 pair a year 1 in 4 yeats. 1 in 3 years. 1 in 3 years 1 pair a year

1 pair a year 2 pairs a year

1 pair a year 1 a year

1 a J ear

3t .per cent. of

total cost

Australia Indicator List, age lCt

1 in 3 years 1 a year

2 pairs a Jear


' ELDEST BoY_ 's

Sweater Overall Shirts or blouses (cotton) Stockings (cotton) Caps

Handkerchiefs Belt Ties Union suits (summer)

, , (winter)

Pyjamas Boots (winter) Shoes (summer) Repairs Miscellaneous Gloves (knit) Rubbers . Garters (made at home)

Shirts (summer) , · (winter)

Drawers (muslin) , (knitted)

Petticoat (winter) .. , (summer)

Under waist Dresses (wool), to be home made , (cottori), to be home made

Sweater ·

Hat (summer) Hat or cap (winter) Nightgown (winter) , (summer)

Socks (cotton) H andkerchiefs , Coat (wool) Boots (winter) Shoes (summer)

Repairs Miscellaneous Apron (home made) Rubbers ..

Garters Gloves or Mittens

U.S.A. Budget, age 12.

1 in 2 years 1 a year

5 a year

12 pairs a year 2 a year

6 a year

1 in 2 years 2 a year

3 a year

2 a year

. 2 a year

3 pairs a year 2 pairs a year 5 pairs a year 3 per cent. of total 2 pairs a year

1 pair a year 2 pairs a year

Jersey · Summer coat Shirts Stockings (wool)

Cap ..

Straw hat Felt hat Handkerchiefs Braces

Ties Singlets (wool) , (cotton)

Pyjamas Boots (best) ..

, (school)

R epairs Miscellaneous Collars

GIRL'S CLOTHING. U.S.A. Budget, age 6. 3 a year

2 a year ,

5 pairs a year 2 pairs a year 1 a year

2 a year 4 a year · ·

1 in 2 years 6 a year 1 in 2 years 1 a year .

1 in 2 years 1 a year

1 a vear 12 pairs a year 6 a year

1 in 2 years 3 pairs. a year 2 pairs a year Nil

S! per cent. of total 1 a year

1 pair a year 2 pairs a year 1 pair a year


Bloomers (cotton) , (woollen)

Petticoat (winter) , (summer)

Stays Dresses (best)


Hats Cap Pyjamas

Socks (wool) Handkerchiefs Topcoat Boot& (best) ..

, (school)

Repairs Miscellaneous


Overcoat Dresses-cotton suits, rompers, .overalls, &c. (to be made at home) Undershirts (summer)

, (winter)

Undervests .. Drawers (summer) .. (winter)

Sweater ••

Stockings (cotton) Cap Hat (duck) :';

Nightgowns (winter) , (summer)

Boots (winter) Shoes (summer)

Miscellaneous 'Mittens (knit)


U.S.A. Budget, age 2.

1 in 2 years

8 a year

3 a year

2 a year

4 a year

3 pairs a year 2 pairs a year

1 in 2 years

10 pairs a year 1 a year

1 a year

1 a year ·

1 a year

2 pairs a year 2 pairs a year

6 per cent. of total 1 pair a year.

2 pairs a year

Overcoat Suit (light) , (heavy)



Blouse coat Jersey Shirts Stockings (wool) Cap ..

Hat Nightshirts

Boots (best) Shoes Boot repairs

Handkerchiefs Braces Collars



Australia Indicator List, age 101;.

1 in 2 year& 1 a year

4 a yea:r 4 pairs a year I a year

1 in 2 year& 1 a year

6 a year

1 pair a year 2

1 a year I a year

3 in 2 years 1 pair a year ·

2 pairs a year 2 pairs a year Nil 3 a year

Australia Indieator Lilt, age J. 1 a year

2 pairs a year I pair in 2 years 1 in 2 years I in 2 years

2 pairs a year 1 a year

1 a year

1 in 2 years 2 a year

1 a year

2 pairs in 3 years

4 pairs a year 6 a year

1 in 3 years 2 pairs in 3 years 3 pairs in 2 years · 2· pairs a year .

5 per cent. of total

Australia Indicator List, age 3:}. 1 in 3 years 1 in 2·years 1 in 2 years 2 a year

1 pair a year

l a year

1 in 2 years 2 a year

4 pairs a year 1 in 1! years 1 in I! years 2 a year

1 pair a year 2 pairs a year 1 pair a year

3 a year ·

1 pair a year r

2 a year

Fuel and light

:Groceries not food of furniture and fur­


Union dues Health

Domestic assistance .Newspapers ·

.. Amusement s and recreation _Barber--.

Man Children .Fares

·Church Insurance (life) , (furniture)




lOs. 3d. per week

Is. 9d.

6s. 2!d.

9d. 6s. 5d.

4s. 2d. \ 1 'a day


Is. 7d. per -week

12 hair cuts per year

8 " "

900 annually at 2!d. each Is. O!d. per week 13s. 2d. l!d. 4s. 2.d. "


Fuel, 1! cwt. at 2s. 6d. Ligh6ng Groceries not-food Renewals of household utensils,

household drapery, crockery, glassware, and cutlery Union dues Lodge dues . Medicine, dentist, &c. Domestiq assistance Newspapers

Amusements and recreation Barber-Man · Children ..


Sm o k:iri.g


Australia Indicator List.

3s. 9d. per week ls. ·

l s. 6d.

2s. 7-&d. 6d . w

ls. 3d. 9d.



l s. 6d. ,

1 a day, also per

week for station­ ery and postage 2s. a week

9 hair cuts per year 5 )} "

780 annually at 2d. each

l--1 b. to ba,cco

k'rmted and l'uulJs two tor the of the CoMMONWEALTH of A uy t\.L ilEH T J.

Government P r inter fo r t he State of Victoria.