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Tuesday, 4 December 1973
Page: 4248

Mr ENDERBY (Australian Capital Territory) (Minister for Secondary Industry and Minister for Supply) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

This Bill will pursue the Government's policy of specification by Act of Parliament of remuneration and allowances paid on an annual basis to various statutory office holders. Honourable members will recall that in 1971 in accordance with the wishes of the Senate the then Minister for Health, Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson, gave an undertaking that this practice would be followed in the future by the Government of which he was a member. The new Labor Government has followed a similar practice in legislation it has introduced this year dealing with the establishment of the new statutory offices connected with the implementation of its policies.

As in previous years, Bills establishing new offices have included clauses which allow the prescription of salaries and annual allowances, if any, in regulations until a specified date after which they must be specified in an Act of Parliament. Such provisions apply until the end of this year in respect of the offices in the Schedule to this Bill. Without passage of this Bill there will be no provision by which salary payments may be made after 1 January 1974. Accordingly, all this Bill does in respect of these offices is specify in an Act of Parliament salaries and fees which are already included in regulations. The proposed new section 17 will provide flexibility necessary on occasions to ensure that an Australian Government official who accepts a transfer to a statutory office does not suffer a salary reduction. Honourable members will recall that when the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) introduced the Remuneration and Allowances Bill in March this year he said:

The Government believes that machinery should be established for the future regular review of parliamentary salaries. Members are aware that in the past there have been independent committees making recommendations to the Government and governments putting proposals before the Parliament without independent inquiry. There have also been suggestions that parliamentary salaries should be tied automatically to some index. It is this Government's view that a Tribunal should be established in order to put this whole matter on a regular basis with automatic reviews and in respect of member's salaries probably having automatic effect.

It is the Government's intention that such a Tribunal would deal also with the salaries for First Division officers in the Public Service and statutory office holders. Most groups in the community traditionally have access to arbitration machinery which enables an independent assessment of salary rates and there is much to be said for extending the proposed Tribunal's jurisdiction in this way. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Street) adjourned.

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