Australian broadcasting commission financial emergency act: application to salaries of staff of australian broadcasting commission: effect of creation of commission after reference date fixed for reduction of salaries: statutory construction: subsequent specific provisons prevailing over general provisions
Financial Emergency Act 1931 ss 10, 11, 15(3), 17(1), 18, 18A: Australian Broadcasting Commission Act 1932 ss 8, 15
The Assistant Secretary, Department of the Treasury has forwarded the following memorandum to me for advice:
Attached hereto is a copy of a minute received from the Secretary and Chief Inspector, Commonwealth Audit Office, through the Prime Minister’s Department in which the question is raised as to the application of the Financial Emergency Act 1932 to the salaries of the staff of the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
The views of the Secretary, Postmaster-General’s Department were sought in regard to this matter and the following is a copy of a memorandum dated 13th January received from that Department:
With reference to your memorandum of 10.1.33, the view held by this Department is that the officers and servants of the Australian Broadcasting Commission are not affected by the Financial Emergency Act. With the exception of the six most highly paid officers, the Commission has absolute freedom to pay the staff whatever salaries and allowances that it thinks fit. section 15(3).
In regard to the salaries and allowances paid to the Commissioners the amounts have been fixed by Executive Minute, the full amounts stated in Clause 8(2) of the Australian Broadcasting Commission Act being approved for salaries whilst the allowances (only) have been made subject to the Financial Emergency Act.
I shall be glad if you will kindly favour me with your opinion as to the applicability or otherwise of the Financial Emergency Act 1932 to the salaries of:
- Members of the Broadcasting Commission paid in accordance with section 8 of the Australian Broadcasting Commission Act 1932; and
- Members of the staff of the Commission covered by section 15 of the Australian Broadcasting Commission Act 1932.
Section 18A of the Financial Emergency Act 1931–1932 is limited in its application to amounts of salary, payment, fee or allowance to which the provisions of section 10, 11, 17(1) or 18 of that Act apply.
The operation of section 11 is dependent on the operation of section 10 and sections 17(1) and 18 are clearly not applicable.
Section 10 of the Act provides for the reduction of all salaries of officers and employees and sub-section (2) of that section provides that ‘for the purpose of calculating the amount of the reduction to be made in the salary of an officer or employee, his annual salary shall be deemed to be the amount which would have been payable to him at the commencement of this section had there been no decrease in his salary on or subsequent to the first day of July, One thousand nine hundred and thirty in consequence of a variation in the index numbers …’.
The date of commencement of this section is the 20th July, 1931.
As the Australian Broadcasting Commission was only created in the year 1932, it would appear that the provisions of section 10 quoted above are not applicable to the salaries of the Commissioners or their staff.
In addition, the provisions of sections 8 and 15 of the Australian Broadcasting Commission Act 1932 are specific provisions enacted later than the general provisions contained in section 10 of the Financial Emergency Act 1931–1932 and in the case of conflict between two such provisions, the specific and later provisions override the general and former.
In my opinion, therefore, the provisions of the Financial Emergency Act 1931–1932 are not applicable to salaries payable under sections 8 and 15 of the Australian Broadcasting Act 1932.
[Vol. 26, p. 237]