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FRIDAY, MAY S, 1SS4.
BKFORK Parliament meets again our legislators should take into consideration the manner in which our pension list is growing. There is no doubt that the people of the 'colony are averse to any sys- tem by which the revenue would become burdened with heavy annual payments to
ex-officials who have retired from ofiice.
Schedule B of our annual Estimates, how- ever, under which is included pensions aud retiring allowances, is yearly growing. The
amount voted under these heads for the current year was £8263, in which is not in- cluded payments made from the Police Superannuation Fund, and this amount will, no doubt, continue to increase year by year as more of our older public officials complete the period of service required to entitle them to retire. It, will be well, therefore, to inquire whether the system under which these allowances are granted is a fair and satisfactory one to the country before the amount becomes much greater.
There is only one pension proper on the list, that of £250 per annum granted by
Parliament to the widow of the late Presi- dent of the Legislative Council, Sir Maurice O'connell. The retiring allowance of the late Chief Justice, Sir James Cockle (£1250 per annum), was secured to him by the terms of his appointment, and all of our present Supreme Court Judges on completing their service of fifteen years on the Bench will also become entitled to very substantial pensions. The allow- ance of £600 per annum voted by Parlia- ment to Mr. Manning, late Under Colonial Secretary, also partakes more of the nature of a pension than of a retiring allowance, since it exceeds the amount to wltich he would have been entitled under tho Civil Service Act if he had served the full time necessary to entitle him to retire. The other allowances, however, which go to make up the total of the £8263 voted for this year are supposed to be paid out of a fund created by deductions from the pay of the civil servants themselves, and whenever any objection is made to the continuance of the present system the objectors are told that this money is not paid out of the pockets of the taxpayers, but that the drawers of these allowances are merely re- ceiving back the money which they them- selves contributed to the Civil Service Fund.
If this is correct of course the taxpayers have no ground of objection to the present system ; it does not concern them. But we entertain very great doubts whether the funds contributed by the civil service are sufficient to meet all thedemands that now are or in the future may be made upon them, and if they proved insufficient of course the burden of these payments would fall upon the revenue of the colony. We would wish to see an actuarial investigation of this Civil Service Fund, from which we might learn what amount has actually been con- tributed to it, including, of course, the intarcst allowed on yearly balances stand- ing to its credit ; what amount has been already paid away ; the sum now standing to its ci edit, and the amount of payments coming in yearly; and, lastly, the estimated amount of its liabilities. We believe that if such an investigation weie made it would he found that the assets of the Civil Service Fund were very much below the value of its liabilities, if, indeed, there aie any assets remaining beyond the small contributions still coming in monthly from members of the service who will soon bo entitled to be- come ti charge upon the fund.
To speak plainly, we doubt whether the payments made to secure these retiring allowances have been on the same scale as would be required by an insurance com- pany. If not they were insufficient, and if they were insufficient the loss has to be made good out of tho revenue of the colony. One reason why the payments made are likely to prove in- sufficient is that the retiring allowance is always calculated at a certain percentage of the salary which the official is drawing at the time of retirement, and not on the average salary which he has been drawing during the whole time whilst he was contribut- ing to the fund. Thus, on enteriug the service an officer may have been diawingonly .£150 or ¿'200 per annum, of which ho would con- tribute 2 per cent to the Civil Service Fund. After serving for many years at a low salary he perhaps obtains substantial promotion only a year or t\v» before the time of his re- tirement ; and when that time comes his re- tiring allowance is proportionate to the £500 or ¿VJ00 per annum which he may then be drawing, and not to tho salary on which his payments to the fund for many years were based. Owing lo this mistake Ave do not seo how the colony can avoid losing bj' this system of civil service insurance. It would be very easy to see, however, whether we have been carrying on this business on safe and correct principles or not. For in- stance, the Hon. E. B. Sheridan draws a re- tiring allowance of ¿'367 per annum. Any insurance ofiice being informed of his age at the time when he commenced to draw this allowance could state what amount he would have had then to pay to purchase an annuity of .£367. It cosld then be ascer- tained whether his contributions to the Civil Service Fund, with compound interest added from the date of each payment, amounted to the- sum for which an insurance office would have sold him such an annuity. If they have, then all is right. If not, this Civil ¡ Service Superannuation Fund has been a
losing business to Use community. We are perfectly satisfied that if such an investiga- tion were made it would bo fouud that the whole of the receipts under it were insuffi- cient to purchase the ¿X5Ö00 of annuities which wo now pay.
Tho Police Superannuation Fund stands, on a different fooling, an it has been kept separate from the revenue account, and up to the present time has met all the payments made on account of it, and no doubt will continue to do so for many years to come. At the same time it is not absolutely certain that the payments into and out of it are based upon proper calculations. Twenty years ago wo had a very small number of police, and consequently the pensioneis on this fund are as yet few in number, whilst the contributors to it have increased in number very greatly. "When, however, the
number of our police censes to increase, and a much larger number of men are entitled lo draw upon the fund, it may eventually be found insuflicieiit. We have no reason to express an opinion that it will be so, but we think that the importance of the matter is sufficient to require that it should be examined into and reported upon by an ex- perienced actuary. It is very desirable that a system of compulsory insurance should be established iii all branches of the Govern- ment service. Such a system svould relieve our legislators of the very disagreeable duty which they are generally called on to per- form twice or three times during every session of Parliament, when, on a motion being made to grant a gratuity to some un- fortunate widow, they have either to appro- priate public fund» to a purpose for which in their consciences they know they are not properly liable, or else to incur the odium of being hard-hearted and uncharitable. Such a system of insurance, however, should be a real one, based upon sound business principles, and not,, as we believe our present one is, one in which the deficiency in the payments of the assured is made good out of the revenue of the colony.
TrtE determination of the Government to pay Mr. P. F. MacDonald the amount due to him is to be commended. The fact that a citizen has been so long unable to recover from tho Government a sum awarded linn by the courts has been a reflection on this colony. Both political' parties have been to blame in the matter. A Liberal Govern- ment refused to pay the just verdict, and the squatting party persisted in the refusal. It is not altogether on Mr. MacDonald's account that we ure glad to know his claim will be settled. Ile sought for satisfaction by means which do not redound to his credit. There can be little doubt, for instance, that the main reason for his entrance into public life svas to obtain a vantage ground from which to press his claim. The fact explains, though it does not justify, the dogged obstinacy with which a section of politicians resisted that claim. The explanation, however, is¡ one that does not go bey»nd the confines of Queensland; all that is known outside of it is the broad fact that Mr. MacDonald has been awarded a certain sum by the Supreme Court of the colony, and that the Government has re- fused to pay it. The refusal has been a de- fiance of the law by those svhose duty it was to uphold it. While, admitting the de- sirableness of paying Mr. MacDonald's claim, sve do not think the Government ought to settle it in the manner they pro- pose to do without the consent of Parlia- ment. Their action is the more reprehen- sible because the Assembly, though it svould probably assent to the payment of the claim itself, might well refuse to sanction the very liberal addition it is proposed to make for interest. It is a case for strict justice, not for exceptional liberality, because Mr. MacDonald cannot pose as an injured innocent. There have been faults on both sides, and the interest allowed by the first jury, ti per cent, would, in our opinion, amply meet the equity of tho case. It is wrong in principle for a Gosrermnent to make a money grant in such a way as to withdraw it entirely from the jurisdiction of Parliament ; and it is especially wrong in this case, because there are reasonable grounds for believing that a majority of the people's representatives would be inclined to
lessen the amount.
IT lins been understood that for some time past his Excellency the Governor has been looking for the most suitable place for a summer residence. For several years a sum of £300 has been voted as rent for a country resi- dence, and the late Governor was in the habit of spending the summer months in a house rented for the purpose at Toowoomba. Since Sir Anthony Musgrave's arrival the people of that town, as well as of Humpybong and South- port, havo in tnrn entertained hopes that his Excellency would live amongst them during a portion of each year. Thero is reason to believo that Southpoit is the favoured place, as far as Sir Anthony's choice is concerned, and arrangements aro most likely to be made by which the residence of Mr. Henry Biggs at that place will be enlarged and rented as a summer residence for the Governor. This place is situated on an elevation at the extreme southern end of Southport. It has the advan- tage of being picturesquely situated and com- paratively secluded.
Iï will be remembered that at the time of floating the last Queensland loan the financial agents of the Government advised them that it would make a serious dilfcrcnce in tho trans- action if they could give a guarantee that no further loan would be placed on tho market by this colony for a period of twelve months. The Govornment of the day believed that any neglect to follow this advice might lead to serious loss to tho colony in the price at which the loan would be sold, and that it might possibly result in sonio difficulty in getting the required amount subscribed. They, therefore,
assented to the condition. The period named has now almost expired, and as soon as possible after the IStli iustant, an inscribed loan of £2,672,CCJ will be placed on the London market through the Bank of England, and will bear interest from the date of issue. This loan consists of £1,439,000, balance of the loan of 1SS3, and £1,233,000, balance of tho loan of 1SS1-2. That the appre- hensions upon which the undertaking to tem poiarily abstain from further loans was given, were not unjustifiable is proved by the faat that only one-third of the loan M'as aubscribodi by the outside pulilic, tho remainder being taken up by a syndicate in connection with tJto Queensland National Bank. The Auditor General's last statement shows, too, that the colony has suffered nothing from this absti- nence. Tho cash balance on 31st December last was £2,210,232, in addition, to £078,867 then duo on debentures sold in May last,, less £707,000 required to. Meet maturing debentures on 1st January. There was, theroforc, plenty of money available, and it would, have been folly to borrow more at 4 per cent and deposit it with the banks-at 1-J per
cent. Besides this, tbe money masket is now I in so favourable a ccadition, and the revenue I of tha colony so buoyaut, that a successful transaction may fairly be anticipated. Th* small 5.V per cent lean just floated by the New- town, (Sydney) ninsicipality realised 107, whirfi isQQ,ual to a triio over 95 for a 4percent, while the colony of Tasmania has ii.vod a luim mum of OS for iis -4 per cent loon shortly to he
A SLIGHT error was made in our leader of yesterday referring to tho appointment of Mr. Wade to act as Chief Engineer and arbitrator in the disputo between tho contractors for the Maryborough and Gympie Hollway and the Commissioner for Railways. It was stated that the final decisions an the contractors' claims were made " partly by Mr. Stanley and partly by Mr. Thorneloo Smith, who was acting Chief Engineer during Mr. Stanley's absence in England." Wo are now informed that Mr. Thorneloo Smith did not decide as Chief En- gineer on any of these claims, but. that the de- cisions were all given by Mr. Stanley. This does not affect the argument of our article in the least, but wo think it right to make tho
Tits Acting Commissioner for Ilailsvayg notifies that at the principal stations on the> Southern and Western Railway tho ticke offices svill be open continuously from a quarter of an hour before the starting of the first train. in the day until the departure of the last one. It is also announced that for the convenience of passengers hy early trains tickets svill be- sohl on one day for use on the next one. This is a great step forward io the right direction. Some day we shall reach tie sensible American plan by which travellers are enabled to buy their railsvay tickets, like postage stamps, afr their hotels, without haviag to squeeze and struggle at a station ticket ssïndosv at all.
TUB following is a list of inventions regis- tered in the Coloaial Secretary's Office during; the sveck ending- 1st May :-Bichará Pickup Park, Melbourne-, improvements in rotary engines ; George Wostinghouss, Jun., King's Cross, England, impros-ementa- in pneumatic brake apparatus Jor railsvay trains; John Woods, Melbourne, improvements in railway brakes; David Anderson, Stawell, Victoria, improvements in contrivances for varying the gauge of the svhcels-of rolling stock for rail and other permanent ways ;.Carson Woods, Sydney,
improvements in railway cars or svaggons;. Blackman Air Propeller- Ventilating- Company, Limited, improvements in ventilating and exhaust pana; Messrs.. "Weedon,. Weedon, and Falconer (second) provisional certificate),
improvements in tramways.
THE committcoof the Chamber of Somracrce was to havo mot yesterday. There svas, how-
ever, "no quorum."'
A MEETING of those favourable to the "As- sociation" game of football as played in the home countries was held at the Australian Hotel last night. Considering the inclemency of the weather there was a good attendance. The chair was occupied by Mr. W. McLauchlan. Among those present were a number of Scottish Association footballers who had recently ar- rived in the colony. After considerable discus- sion of details it was resolved that it was desi- rable to form an Anglo-Queensland Football Association, and as a beginning the meeting formed the first club, the name selected being "St. Andrew's Football Club." Mr. D. McCreadie - a Queen's Park (Glasgow) player was elected president and captain of the newly-formed club; Mr. J. Christie, secretary ; and Mr. W. McLauchlan, treasurer. It was announced that already from twenty-seven to thirty promises to join the olub had been re- ceived, and it was resolved to play a practice match tomorrow afternoon, if possible, in the Queen's Park. Mr. D. McCreadie and Mr. W. Hardgrave undertook to captain the teams.
SIONOK and Signora Majeroni appear to- night for tho last time in Brisbane on the occasion of their joint benefit. The selection, of "Jealousy" has been made in compliance with a generally expressed wish. Whatever the weather may be, there ought to be an over-
MESSRS. W, HOWARD SMITH AXV SONS an- nounce in our odvertising columns that in future a reduction of 25 per cent svill be made in their saloon and steerage passage rates between
Sydney, Brisbane, Rockhampton, Mackay, and.
THE last communication forwardod by Tewfik Boy, the hero of Sinkat, to the Governor of the Eastern Soudan runs thus :-"Iam obliged' to» reduce the soldiers' rations to wÄat is strictly necessary, so as to run as little risk as-possible of starvation. If' our provisions were to be exhausted before assistance should arrive (which God forbid), we shall' attompt a col- lective sortie and ' endeavour to reach Suakin. Wo prefer death to surrender. P might easily save my own life,.but military honour makes it my duty to share the fate of those placed under my command. We trust in &oi\ and await his decision-life or death.'"
"GLESKA" writes from the Tweed to com- plain of somostatcments rgcontly made by a correspondent! He denies that the resident population ij decreasing, and defends tile character of-the floating population or "trampa referred to by our correspondent. These, he asserts, are quite respectable working mea emploj'edonthe plantationsduring the crushing
HAIN fell heavily in and around Brisbane during the greater part of yesterday, and np to a late lionr last night there was every »p pearanco of more, though, thore was a lull of several hours during the oveniag. From mid- night on Wednesday till- tho same hour last night our office rain-gauge gave a total of 3'25in. The oflicial reports, for the- twenty four hears ended at 9 o'clock yesterday morning show that rain had fallen copiously in Brisbane and the surrounding districts, and also at somo of the coastal stations, but in the interior thora was no rain. The following rainfalls were registered :-Brisbane, 2.59in,; Cape Moreton, 3.70in. ; Toowoomba, 0.05in. ; Warwick, 0.05in. ; Cooktown, 0.12in. ; Beenleigh, 4.04in. ; Sandgate, 3.00in. ; Lytton,
4.00in. ; Cleveland, 3.57in ; Ipswich, 1.17in.; Jimbour, 0.40in.; Nanango, 0.03in. ; Nerang, 4.00in. ; and Southport, 9.20in. It had also, been raining at Hawkwood, and was showery at Gympie, the South Passage, Stanthorpe, and Tenningering. The afternoon reports show that it was then raining at Beenleigh, Southport, Nerang, Sandgate, Caboolture, Yandina,
Tewantin, Howard, Woody Island, and Rock- hampton; alsjo at Ipswich, Nanango, Harris- ville, Toowoomba, Emu Creek, Cambooya,War- wick, and Stanthorpe. The rain has not pene-
trated inland further than the stations named, for though Roma, St. George, Charleville, Nive, and Tambo report cloudy skies, it was fine at Cunnamulla, Aramac, Blackall, Hughenden, and Cloncurry.
A COKUESPOKDENT writes :-" Qjito atM»i> was gicen to the- Scandinavians of ßrisban« on, Wednesday night in tbo shape of a scientific lec turo given in their mother-lnngunííe.'by Mr. ûaua Larsen, at the Mechanics' Institute, South Brisbane. TJje subject uas, 'What ia trfltk; or,-, truth, illustrated by astronomy, «ed
geology.' There were about 100 persons pre- sent, and on a call from the- chairsaani as to whether the audience wish3d more such lec- tures tobe given, there waî-a warra affirnative given. Some neat diagrams wore «sod! to illus-
trate the lecture."
WE (Sydney TtUgrajitt aro aufchowiatiyely informed that a telegram has been received from Sir Henry Parkes, stating- that nil the
shares in tho Australian Investment Company
have been taken up,, and tho company formally floated. The capital is £Le00,00i>. The cora pany is formed for the purpose of purchasiuö property, and lending money on house, statten, and landed property in Auskralia. To Sir Hcnry Parkes, exclusively belongs, we under- stand, the crjdit of originating and carry"1? out the scheme. Had his " mission" been disclosed when he left Sydney for London, both he and it would probably have been laughed at. Ho has succeeded in raising a million of money from British capitalists without the assistance of a broker or a single advertisement. This'financial foat has been achieved solely by Sir Henry's personal in- fluence. We aro informed that the manage- ment of tho company «ill he in the hands oi the Sydney dircctors-namely, the Uoal Edward Flood, Mr. James Watson, 3I.P., ana Mr. Ebenezer Vickery; hut there will W° D0
a boiu'dSin Edinburgh,