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Tuesday, 12 December 1911

Senator VARDON (South Australia) . - I am glad that Senator Givens has brought the Committee back to the basic principle of this discussion. We do not want to discuss any particular officer. No officer is named in the clause, only an office is mentioned.

Senator Lynch - Nor is there in the Public Service Act.

Senator VARDON - The Public Service Act refers to the whole of the Public Service. This Bill was brought in to enable the Public Service to get the advantage of the machinery of the Arbitration Court. When all the clauses referring to that proposal were passed, we. found tacked on to them what is really an amendment of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act - a provision to create the office of an Industrial Registrar. I would not have said anything about that provision only that it fixes the salary of the office, prescribes the increments, and, as Senator Millen has pointed out, acts retrospectively. What would be said if we appointed a Secretary to the Department of Home Affairs and fixed in a measure his salary and the increments to it? We might do just the same thing in regard to every important office which is held under the Commonwealth, and provide what the salaries of the officers shall be at the commencement, and what the increments shall be, knowing that the amounts could not be altered except by a special Bill. I do not say a word against the officer who is to be appointed Industrial Registrar. I do not know anything about him. He may be the best man in the world for the position, and fully entitled to the highest salary which we could give him. But I contend that his salary should be submitted on the annual Estimates in just the same way as is the salary of the head of any Department, and that Parliament should have the right to say " Yes " or " No" to it year by year.

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