3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, the following questions : -
– In reply to the first question, I have, to say that it is not the intention of the Government to take any steps in that direction. In the Standing Orders there is prescribed a manner which, of course, has to be followed. We have not yet received a copy of the text of the judgment; but when -it’ comes to hand it will be our duty to circulate it amongst honorable senators.
– Will the Government take steps to get a copy of the judgment?.
– We are taking the necessary steps.
– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive- Council,” without notice, whether he will lay before the Senate the result of the inquiries which it was promised would be made into the serious statements and charges made against certain tobacco manufacturers, on Friday last, by Senators Pearce and Findley?
– After consultation, the report of the debate has been forwarded to the Department of Trade and Customs, with a request that they should forthwith make the necessary investigation, and I understand that it is now proceeding. I shall be only too pleased to lay before the Senate the result of the inquiry when it is received.
Senator KEATING laid upon the table the following papers : -
Report of Conference of Statisticians of the’ Commonwealth and States of Australia and Colony of New Zealand, on the Unification of Australasian Statistical Methods, with Appendices, 1906.
Census and Statistics Act 1905 -
Official Bulletin of Trade, Shipping, and Oversea Migration of the Commonwealth of Australia for the Month of January, 1907.
Trade, Shipping, and Oversea Migration of the Commonwealth of Australia for the Month of February, 1907. - Bulletin No. 2.
Trade, Shipping, and Oversea Migration of the Commonwealth of Australia for the Month of March, 1907. -Bulletin No. 3.
Trade, Shipping, Oversea Migration, and Finance of the Commonwealth of Australia for the month of April, 1907. - Bulletin No. 4.
Trade, Shipping, Oversea Migration, and Finance of the Commonwealth of Australia for the Month of May, rgo7. - Bulletin No. 5.
Population and Vital Statistics. - Determination of the Population of Australia for each quarter from 31st December, iooo, to 31st December, 1906. -Bulletin No. r. (7) Population and Vital Statistics. - Summary of Commonwealth Demography for the years 1901 to 1906. - Bulletin No. 2.
Trade and Customs and Excise Revenue of the ‘Commonwealth of Australia for the year 1906. - Part I.
Public Service Act 1902 -
Documents in connexion with the promo* tion of Mr. J. G. Cameron, Department of Defence, Queensland.
Defence Acts 1903-4 -
Financial, and Allowance Regulations for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth - Amendment of Regulation 98 - Statutory Rules 1907, No. 84.
Senator Colonel NEILD . (New South
Wales) [3.6]. - Under standing order 397, I ask the Senate to permit me to explain a matter of a personal nature.
– Is it the will of honorable senators that Senator Neild should have permission to make a statement?
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear.
– On the9th August, I made a statement here, which I need not recount, to the effect that if I were not able to prove a certain fact concerning the evaporation in connexion with the great water supply scheme of Western Australia, I would resign my seat in the Senate.
– That was a very foolish thing to do.
– It may have been a foolish thing to do. I knew that I was in a position to prove what I said, and I desire now to put myself straight with my fellow senators, and show that I am not under any obligation to undertake the disagreeable duty of severing the pleasant ties which bind me to so many pleasant companions. I used these words : -
On the great water scheme, it is positively a act that a larger number of gallons of water evaporate than are pumped for the service of the yeople.
– Prove that statement.
– I will prove it from Government publications, or resign my seat in the Senate.
I have here the official annual report of the Goldfields Water Supply Administration, and it is signed by Mr. W. C. Reynoldson, Chief Engineer for Goldfields Water Supply. In 1902, the inflow to the reservoir at Mandeering weir was 323,000)000 gallons; the water pumped was 90,000,000 gallons; and the evaporation was 140,000,000 gallons, being 50,000,000 gallons more than the quantity pumped. In 1903, the inflow’ was 6,300,000,000 gallons ; the water pumped was 351,000,000 gallons; and the evaporation was 400,000,000 gallons. In 1904, the inflow was 8,700,000,000 gallons; the water pumped was 577,000,000 gallons; and the evaporation was 800,000,000 gallons. In 1905, the inflow was 21,000,000,000 gallons; the water pumped was 637,000,000 gallons ; and the evaporation was 820,000,000 gallons. For the half-year ending 30th June, 1906 - the last figures I could get - the inflow was 400,000,000 gallons ; the water pumped was 374,000,000 gallons; and the evaporation was 420,000,000 gallons. _ I think, sir, that I am under no obligation to resign my seat.
– Mr. President, is it open to honorable senators to discuss the question as to whether, in view of those circumstances, the honorable senator should resign his seat?
– It is not.
ADJOURNMENT (Formal). same Question : Repetition of Debates.
– I have” received from Senator Walker an intimation that he desires to move the adjournment of the Senate until 10 a.m. to-morrow, to enable him to discuss a matter of urgent public business, namely, in refutation of certain: statements made on the 16th inst, on the motion for adjournment moved by Senator Pearce. When I received the notice, I intimated to Senator Walker that it would not be in order to debate the matter with which he desires to deal. . The adjournment of the Senate was moved on Friday last for the purpose of debating the action of the Tobacco Trust, and I understand that Senator Walker desires an opportunity to reply to certain statements which were then made. It does not appear to me that it would be in order to debate the same question again. Of course, if new facts or circumstances had arisen in connexion with the Tobacco Trust, it would then have been competent for them to be brought forward and debated, but it would not be in order to refute statements made on a previous occasion. A motion for adjournment is not usually put to a vote, but is withdrawn. It may be urged by some honorable senators that it is competent to re-debate the matter on the ground that it had not been decided, either one way or the other. The rule is laid down very clearly in May -
It is a rule, in both houses, which is essential to the due performance of their duties, that no question or bill shall be offered that is substantially the same as one on which their judgment has already been expressed in the current session.
No judgment has been expressed on the matter which was submitted by Senator Pearce on Friday, but a motion for adjournment to debate a matter of urgent public importance is apparently on an entirely! different plane from an ordinary motion. If a motion for “adjournment could be moved and withdrawn to-day, moved again to-morrow, and so on, we should never reach finality; and it would be possible to keep a matter open for an indefinite period. I have ascertained that the practice in the House of Commons is in accordance with’ my present ruling. I find that as far back as 1889, Mr. O’Brien desired to move the adjournment of the House - to consider a definite matter of public interest, namely - the conduct of the Irish Constabulary in firing upon defenceless persons at Charleville without, necessity.
Mr. Speaker, in declining to put the motion, went on to states -
The point now proposed to be raised by the honorable gentleman was specifically gone into in the speech of the right honorable gentleman, and was ‘repeatedly alluded to by honorable gentlemen who followed ; . and, though it may be ‘alleged the information before, the House’ was insufficient at that time, and that it was desirable to discuss the matter at a subsequent period, it by no means follows it is a matter of urgent public importance, which should be discussed on the motion for the adjournment of the House, nor did I even contemplate it could be done in that manner. I believe it would be contrary, not only to the form, but to the spirit of ‘ the standing order, and I shall take upon myself the responsibility of not putting it.
I do not know that a similar question to this has arisen in this Chamber.
– There appears to be no record of it so far as I can find. It appears to me that it would be entirely irregular to submit a motion such as that proposed by Senator Walker, simply for the purpose of refuting, as the motion puts it, certain statements that were made upon the particular occasion referred to. That action should have been taken when the matter was being dealt with. I think it is most desirable that the ruling I have given should be followed.
– I do not question your ruling, sir, but as you say that there, has been no similar incident in this Chamber, I ask your attention to the fact that exactly the same question arose as the iesult of a previous motion by Senator Pearce on exactly the same subject - the tobacco industry. The late President, on my proposing to move the adjournment of the Senate by way of reply, raised doubts, looked into the matter, and finally decided the point in my favour. I was permitted to move the adjournment. Clearly you have not had that precedent put before you.
– Is it not a fact that the honorable Senator discussed the question on the motion for the adjournment of the House at its rising?.
– No, I did . it on a motion for adjournment at the commencement of the sitting and in exactly the same circumstances, after Senator Pearce had made certain allegations. It was in reference to the case of the witness Stone. I desired and was eventually permitted, to move the adjournment of the Senate to bring new matter forward. The last thing in the world that I should desire to do would be to question- the ruling of the Chair, because we must look to the Chair as our guide in maintaining the dignity of our proceedings, but I would ask you to be kind enough to look into the matter that I have mentioned, so that possibly - I suggest it with great deference - you may vary your decision oii another occasion. I am sure that you will not think that- I am venturing in the slightest degree to cast even the shadow of a reflection upon the ruling you have just given..
– I should like tosay a few words in reply to what Senator Colonel Neild has staled. The matter to which he has alluded had not been brought under my notice, but so far as I am at present advised I do not see my way to depart from the ruling that I am now laying; down. It” would lead to endless trouble and difficulty if we had such a ruling as that indicated by the honorable senator, but if honorable senators have any desire in> the matter I shall discuss it with the Standing Orders Committee. Beyond that I cannot do anything, and I should not be inclined to depart from the ruling I am now giving, unless I was convinced that I had made an error. There is one portion of the report of the British House of Commons which I omitted to read. It might be of some use to Senator Walker. Mr.. Speaker, continuing, said -
Of course, on the proper occasion, the honorable gentleman can raise the point he proposesto raise. If any new information has come tohis knowledge, of course it will be competent to him to raise the whole question on the proper occasion - namely, in Supply.
As we do not go into Committee of Supply, in this Chamber, the honorable senator might raise the same question when debating, the first reading of a Supply Bill.
– Or on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate.
– When there is no chance of its being reported.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
The Tasmanian tender comes from. a, Devonport firm, and the necessary percentage deposit has been lodged. A tender from a Victorian establishment wasnext lowest in price, and a New South Wales offer was third. The highest one- came from Western Australia. Neither from South Australia nor Queensland was any response to the tender advertisement received. The tenders are now being considered by Lt.-Colonel Owen, the Federal Works Director, who may be in a position to make a recommendation to the Minister next week?”
– The answer to the honorable senator’s questions is comprised in the following statement -
Whilst tenders are under consideration, it is not the practice of the Department to disclose names of tenderers or amounts of tenders. Such a course would be manifestly prejudicial to the public interest. Should a tender be accepted, particulars of the contract will, as is customary, be notified in the Commonwealth Gazette, but it is not desirable, before the acceptance of a tender and the completion of the consequent contract, to depart from the practice of keeping confidential the amounts of unsuccessful tenderers.
Under these circumstances, I do not think at advisable to reply categorically to the honorable senator’s questions, or to discuss the newspaper paragraph referred to, which I have already stated has not, as far as I know, any authoritative sanction.
.-I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
The Bill has for its object the increase of the . allowances to members of the Commonwealth Parliament. I would remind honorable senators that the day has long since gone by when wealth was regarded either as a passport or even as a qualification for entry into the public life of the Commonwealth or the States. A man is simply elected because of his own genuine worth. He represents the choice of the people because of his own individuality and qualifications. The democratic principle of paying members, as it is popularly called, or of making allowances . to them, is not confined to Australia; it is recognised throughout the world, but it consistently obtains throughout Australia. In this connexion, the several Parliaments in Australia have, for the most part,- seen fit, so far as their immediate local circumstances are concerned, to make an allowance of something like £300 per year to members towards assisting them in defraying the expenses incurred by them in the discharge of their parliamentary duties. Having this recognised’ democratic principle before them, and also the payments made by the States Parliaments, the framers of the Constitution had to determine what would be ‘a reasonable sum to allow to members of the Commonwealth Parliament. After some consideration, one amount was submitted and considered, and ultimately the sum of £400 was determined upon, but in so doing they acted tentatively in the dark. The Convention recognised the vast area of Australia, representing something like 3,000,000 square miles, and the most that they could do was to estimate what would be a reasonable sum to enable members of the Commonwealth “Parliament to attend” to the discharge of their duties. In these circumstances, they adopted the wise course of fixing the sum of £400, with the special provision in the Constitution that it would be competent for Parliament” from time to time, in its own discretion and as it thought proper, to alter “thai sum in order to meet exigencies as they arose. The words of the 48th section of the Constitution are -
Until the Parliament otherwise provides, each senator and each member of the House of Representatives shall receive an allowance of Four hundred pounds a year to be reckoned from the day on which he takes his seat.
We have passed through a period of six years and upwards, during which members haveglad experience as to whether £400 a year is an adequate allowance. 1 have no hesitation in saying that it has been demonstrated beyond doubt that it is not an adequate remuneration. If it could be reasonably established that it was, we should not of course be justified in moving in the matter, . but even some of the most strenuous opponents of this measure do not hesitate to admit frankly that £400 is inadequate. Indeed, they go further and say that £600 is not an unreasonable amount.
– And some of its other opponents are against payment of members altogether.
– As the honorable senator reminds me, that substantial section - or I will say that section - of the community who are opposed to payment of members altogether are strenuous in their opposition to increasing the amount. If it can be established that £400 is inadequate - and I venture with great respect to say that no persons are more capable of forming a) judgment on that question than members of Parliament themselves - we are not justified in any unreasonable delay in increasing the amount.
– It is a pity it was not mentioned at the elections.
– My honorable friend must be aware that it was frequently mentioned at the elections.’
– Not in Victoria.
– Was it part of the Government policy?
– No. This is strictly a non-party matter.
– It is a Government measure.
– The Government takes the responsibility of the measure in obedience to the. demand of the other House. The recognised heads of the three parties in the other House have combined in a recognition of the fact that ^400 is an inadequate allowance, and that consequently it should be increased without delay.
– Do not make any mistake. The leader of the Labour Party does not bind individual members of the party.
– Will the Government take the responsibility of this measure ?
– They do not shift it on to Parliament?
– Not at all. I would also urge that to Parliament are deputed grave and responsible duties. It. is a vast Federal machine. The national issues committed to Parliament by the 51st section of the Constitution are of a most important and extensive character. The Tariff itself is a matter of the greatest difficulty that has occupied, and will again occupy, the close, consistent, and conscientious attention of Parliament, and the revenue from the vast Federal machine which we are called upon to manage is something like £13,000,000 per year. Tn these circumstances it is unreasonable that a fair and adequate remuneration should not be granted to those upon whom these important and grave responsibilities are cast. It is said that in passing this measure we shall be flouting the wishes of the people. I take exception to that view, because first of all it is difficult for me to think that we, who are the creatures of the people themselves, would be so suicidal as te* attempt to do anything of the kind. All that we are seeking to do is to exercise our powers under the Constitution in a legitimate manner. In this connexion, I am justified in saying that we have not only the precedent of New South Wales, but also of Canada and of the United States. I ami aware that it has been suggested that a referendum should be taken on this subject, but I point out that, whilst the increased expenditure represented by this Bill would amount only to something, like £ 2 2, 000 a year-
– ,£20,000 net.
– Something like that amount. A referendum would absorb the increased payment for two years - that is to say, it would cost between £40,000- and £50,000 to take a referendum, and that would cover twice the annual increased, expenditure proposed. It is admitted, evenby the most strenuous opponents of the measure, that the claim to an increased allowance on the part of members of the Federal Parliament is reasonable. The referendum must, I suppose, be recognised as a portion of the working; machinery of the Constitution, and if a referendum on this subject could be takeninexpensively, I am satisfied that honorable senators would be -verv glad to be relieved of personal responsibility in this regard. Speaking for myself, I do not hesitate for a moment to say that- I shall be prepared to do what I can to secure the taking of a: referendum on this matter at the next: general election, when that course can be followed without extra expense.
– Thenwhy not wait until after the general election before providing for the proposed increased allowance?
– Because, as I have explained, there is at present an urgent need for the increased allowance, as every onewho gives the matter careful attention and consideration must be aware. I am one of those who will naturally respect to the fullest the conscientious objections of honorablesenators who are unable to see their way to support the Bill. Where such objections are conscientious, of course, the extra remuneration proposed to be given will not be accepted. But I cannot accord the same- amount of respect .to those who, in theSenate, or in another place, express themselves as opponents of the measure, and characterize it in the most vigorous language as. wrong, wicked, and unconstitu- tutional, but who, notwithstanding, will see their way to ignore their objections, and to put the increased allowance into their pockets. I submit that those who do that must be taken to have condoned anything that is by them considered wrong in this measure - and I do not admit any wrong to be connected with it - and what is more, they must be taken to be accepting money under false pretences.
– To be accessories after the fact.
– What is more, the people in dealing with the matter will not fail to recognise those who adopt that course as the worst offenders.
– That is very strong language in which to refer to opponents of the Bill.
– I. am referring to those who are .prepared to take certain action in Parliament in -connexion with this matter in order to secure the advantage of any popular breeze that may be blowing.
– The honorable senator should not continue on those lines.
– I have said that I have the greatest respect for those who, in obedience to conscientious scruples, object to the Bill. As I have already urged, this is a non-party measure, and I am desirous that there shall be no undue heat introduced into its discussion or any unreasonable attitude adopted in regard to it. We are called upon to give the Bill just and reasonable .consideration, having regard to the conditions actually existing, and if we are satisfied that the needs of the Commonwealth and the proper discharge of their duties by members of the Federal Parliament warrant the proposed increased allowance, I submit that, in asking honorable senators to deal with this measure, the Government are inviting them merely to exercise the powers conferred upon Parliament bv the Constitution.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [3.35]. - I have listened with great interest, and with some amusement, to the line of argument adopted by the Vice President of the Executive Council in introducing the Bill. I think it would have been very much wiser and more consistent with the ordinary rules of propriety if the latter part of the honorable senator’s speech had been entirely omitted.
– It was too personal altogether.
– It threw a lurid light upon the honorable senator’s qualified statement that, although the Bill is a Ministerial measure, it was introduced in obedience -to the demand of honorable members, I suppose, of another branch of the Legislature. Either the Government take the responsibility for this Bill or they do not. The honest and straightforward course for them to take in the face of the country is to say that they are responsible for the Bill, as a part of their policy. It is interesting to find - although it is claimed that this is not a party measure - that upon a great public question like this, which, of course, so little concerns the immediate personal interests of honorable members of both branches of the Legislature, a Government measure is being supported from all sides. That shows- how patriotic we can be. when the question submitted for our consideration is sufficiently large and important for that course to be taken. That is the kind of argument which Senator. Best uses, but I do not think it is likely to commend the Bill to those who may have misgivings, not as to its principle,- but as to the circumstances in which it happens to be introduced, and in which the Government seek to pass it into law. I think it is possible to approach the consideration of this measure without epithets or hysterics on one side or the other. It was possible for the VicePresident .of the Executive Council to have moved the second reading of the Bill without any suggestion that those who, in obedience to the law of the land - if this Bill should ever become law - accept the payment which the law provides, will be guilty of false pretences. That is a monstrous proposition. If that is the kind of. thing by which Senator Best thinks it his duty as a Minister of the Crown to besmirch the reputation of the members of the Senate, I do not envy, the honorable senator any credit which he may take from it. At any rate, it will not influence me in the slightest degree in the view which I take. I come now to a part of the honorable senator’s short and exceedingly ill-advised speech with which- I can agree. The honorable senator has quite accurately described the principle of payment of members as a democratic principle. It is one of the essential incidents of democracy. The honorable senator truly said that the principle has been adopted, not only -in Australia, but in other parts of the world. We are all agreed that the principle of payment of members is the accepted policy of Australia.
This Bill does not raise the question of that principle in any shape or form. That principle was adopted by the States before the immediate pressure of the desire for Federal union was made manifest. I do not propose to address myself to the Bill from any such stand-point as that suggested by the Vice-President of the Executive Council. It is not a matter which should involve a heated controversy, but one with which we can deal sanely. As Senator Best reminded us, the members of the Convention intrusted by the people of Australia with the duty of framing the Constitution, and which did frame it, were so convinced that the principle of payment of members was approved by all Australia that they embodied it in the Constitution itself. They accompanied that by doing something which, so far as I am aware, speaking under correction, had never been done in connexion with any policy put before the people in connexion with payment of .members in any of the States. Subject to. a proviso, to which I. will refer, they fixed the amount of the remuneration in the Constitution at ,£400 a year. Of course, as honorable senators are aware, the motive underlying the provision for the payment of members was a desire to secure a wider choice of representatives for the people. It was felt, it has been said, that every effort should be :made in order that those who are clothed in purple and fine linen should, not have a monopoly of representation in Parliament. The object was that facility should be given for the representation in Parliament of all ranks and sections and all sorts and conditions of the people. When this question came up in the Convention the Constitutional Committee, to which the original draft of the Constitution had been referred, had fixed the amount of payment at £400. Then in the Convention, Mr., now Justice, Gordon moved that the amount should be increased from £400 to .£500 a year. There are two or three words of his speech which I should like to read. He said -
While some local Parliaments are paying their resident members ^300 a year, ^400 is not enough for a member who has to leave - as most members of the Federal Parliament would have to do - his colony) and practically abandon his business or profession. He would have to rely . either upon his private means or his parliamentary salary, which in this case would be inadequate. I think if ^400 a year is fixed the choice for members of the House of Representatives would be limited to those who can afford to leave their business or profession, and to those who are prepared to depend entirely onthe small parliamentary salary. While members of both these classes are exceedingly desirable members of any Parliament, I think it would bea mistake to have the whole Parliament consisting of them, which the payment of the salaryproposed would probably lead to.
I think we are all prepared to assent to that. A great distinction that should be drawn* between this matter and the ordinary fixing of a salary by Parliament for its membersis that the people, by the referendum on the Commonwealth Bill, adopted the provision, and fixed £400 a year as the allow- ance for Federal members.
– Does the honorablesenator think that the fixing of a different amount would have altered the vote on the Commonwealth Bill ?
– No, I do not, but that is not .an answer towhat I have said. It is not necessary for meto say that in my view it would not have, led to the rejection of the Federal union if the amount fixed had been £600, £800 or £1,000 a year. The point is that theamount is not £1,000 a year, but” £400. The people voted for that amount. Although it would have made no difference inthe matter of the acceptance of the Federal1 union whether the amount had been £400- or a larger sum, yet, as it was the peoplewho fixed the amount at £400 a year, my view is that we are not now justified in increasing that amount without asking the people what they think about it.
– What about the proviso to the section? Why does the honorable senator refer to the one provisionand not to the other?
– I take the whole thing in a lump. If the amount is fixed at £600 per annum, I will take that too. But that is not the point with which I am dealing now. I will not forget the other point to which the honorable senator refers. If I do, I beg hint to remind me of it. The people are our masters. It was our masters who fixed the rate of remuneration. We accepted the remuneration that our masters offered uswhen they engaged us, so to speak, by their votes at the last general election, tocome here and represent them in this Parliament. We have no right to increase the remuneration by our own act without the consent of our masters.
– When they send a senator to represent them, has he a right to be away without their permission?
– Anyone has a aright to be away when there is no business to do. Some would not be missed if they were away always. Some would be missed if they were away for half-an-hour. I belong to the latter class, if my honorable friend’s interjection referred to me. However, that is a little pleasantry. I am not afraid to say, and should be prepared to say anywhere, ihat I consider that .£400 a year is inadequate. I do not hesitate for a moment to say that. But that does not oblige me to support this Bill under present circumstances. There may be some over-captious critics who say that the Federal Parliament has been in existence only six years, and that it is a, little hasty for us to add 50 per cent, to our allowance. They may urge that we have not had sufficient experience to justify us in holding that the amount is not adequate. But I think that the period of experience has been sufficient. The Seat of Government is Melbourne. Attendance here involves inconvenience, expense, and loss. It involves the breaking up to a certain extent of the homes of members of this Parliament. I think it is cruel and unjust in many respects. We have had experience of it ‘for six years, and I think, with all deference to those whom I ha.ve described as over-captious critics, that we have had enough experience to enable us to arrive at the opinion that we may fairly - as I am prepared to do before the people of my State - advocate and recommend that there should be a. substantial increase in this allowance. The question at issue does not depend upon this man or that man ; it is not because there is some man, to use my honorable friend’s expression, to whom the salary is no object, or some other man to whom a larger amount would be no object, or, yet again, another man to whom the amount is an object. That is not the way to look at the matter at all. The question is whether the present rate of remuneration is adequate and fair. We have no right to select any individual or any class of individuals in this Parliament, nor have we a right to discriminate either as to geographical position or any other consideration. Looking at the matter all round, we have to consider what is fair and adequate; and I come to the conclusion - and have no hesitation in expressing it - that .£400 a year is not adequate. I am prepared to repeat that, and to advocate the view which I have expressed on every opportunity that I can get. But this I also say : that the people should be consulted; This is practically ‘our first assembling after a general election. What can the people think of us when almost the first thing we do is to increase our allowance by 50 per cent, without saying “‘by your leave,” or “with your leave”? This is the first time the question has ever come in a concrete shape before Parliament. If the Government, exercising the slightest wisdom or prudence, had tabled a motion expressing the opinion that it was desirable that the remuneration of members should be increased, and that the matter should be brought before the people, I should have voted for it. But we have had no such motion. So far as I am aware, there has never been any concrete attempt by Parliament to raise the question in any shape, so that we could have gone before our constituents and said to them - “ Are you in favour of a 50 per cent, increase of our allowance ?” To thatquestion the people could have said yes or no. But nothing of the kind has been done. The people of’ Australia have a right to complain. Although I wish it to be distinctly understood that I consider the present allowance to be inadequate - indeed, I am not sure that £600 a year would be adequate, but at any rate ,£400 is inadequate - yet I say that it is not fair to the people of Australia, who fixed the ,£400 a year under the Constitution, with the proviso to which I will presently refer, that we should not ask them what they think of the proposed alteration. . They are our employers. They are our masters. The ^400 per annum is their determination. We accepted it. Is it for us the moment we, so. to speak, get into the job - into the office or the employment - to raise our wages without “their consent?
– What about having a strike?
– Per-, haps my honorable friend is not unfamiliar with strikes.
– No, I am not.
– But I do not think he would like to go before his constituents on the policy of having struck work because he wanted this increase in his allowance of 50 per cent. We have heard of conferences in connexion with claims for more wages. Let us confer with our employers. Let us put it to them fairly that we consider the present remuneration inadequate. The provision of the Constitution “ until Parliament otherwise provides” has been referred to. It is an elastic provision which enables Parliament to deal with matters so as to make an alteration of the Constitution unnecessary in this respect. But surely it was not contemplated that we should do this, so to speak, behind the backs of the people. My honorable friend the Vice-President of the Executive Council paraphrased this provision in the most extraordinary way. This is what he said - I took down his words - “ Parliament in its own discretion, in any way it thinks fit, is at liberty as the exigencies may arise to increase this remuneration.” I do not find that in the Constitution at all, and if that is the sort of gloss which my honorable friend puts upon it, I entirely dissent from his view. Parliament may do it with the authority of the people, but it would be, to my mind, positively indecent for us, on a matter of this kind, immediately after Parliament met, to say, “ Well, we have got control of the Treasury, and we will just take this increased remuneration.”
– For three years at least.
– I will simply put it in this way : Our masters engaged us at ^400 a year, and because they intrusted us - as undoubtedly we are intrusted - with the cheque-book for three years, the first thing we propose to do is to draw a cheque for an increase of our salaries or allowances, without our employers’ consent. Just think of that in the case of an ordinary servant. We engage a servant, and we intrust him with the care of our purse ; and the first thing he does is to say, “I have got the purse; my master has gone away for twelve -months, and I will just increase my wages.”
– What about those members of Parliament who did consult the electors?
– I do not want to say a word about them. My honorable friend may hold a different opinion from mine. I did not consult the electors on this question.
– The honorable senator is entitled to speak for himself then, but not for others.
– I did not speak for Senator Givens. God forbid that I ever should ! That would be a responsibility too heavy to be borne. I could not do such a thing. Even the Government would disclaim that responsibility.
This is to my mind a new and literal application of the scriptural injunction, “ Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when letreadeth out the corn.”
– That is what we areafter.
– Wehave got into the corn.
– The honorable senator is trying to put a muzzle on.
– No,, but it is proposed that we should have unrestricted joy amongst the corn. I wish, to point out to my honorable friend, who. is very ready with his interpretation of that scriptural quotation, that the injunction was not addressed to the oxen. It was, addressed to the master. Here we anticipate the possibility of the master putting, the muzzle on. Why should we not tel 1 the master that we want him to open it just sufficiently to enable us to get a larger and more adequate allowance? I do not dissent from what the Minister said that, there is none more capable of judging of the inadequacy of the remuneration thant we are. That is a proposition to which I altogether assent. In fact it is one te* which nearly all employes would give their immediate adhesion. It means that they are the best able to fudge what is a fair remuneration. I always like to say what is a fair thing in regard to my own remuneration.
– The honorable: senator generally does !
– But sometimes I do not get what I should like. The master has something to say about it. At any rate, so far as the principle of theincrease is concerned, I have no hesitation whatever in declaring my entire adhesion to the view of those who say that the present payment is not adequate. But at the same time, I do not like this Bill. I think that it is indefensible. I think the people should be consulted. Itseems to me to be an. extraordinary view of the rights of democracy that we should” seek u> increase the payment to membersof Parliament without giving the peoplean opportunity, of expressing an opinionabout it. That is the view which I takewith regard to the Bill. My honorablefriend used an unguarded expression with: regard to those who may be inclined tooppose the Bill. He said that he did not understand those who oppose the Bill butsay that they will take the money if it becomes law. He referred to conscientious objections. That observation made me doubt whether there was a conscience in the matter at all. If some senators oppose the Bill, what possible ground is there for saying that when it becomes the law the rate fixed by law should not be accepted? Senator Lynch. - It is wrongly procured? Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON.- It may be according to the honorable senator’s absurd rendering of what I said. I never said that it is wrongly procured, nor anything of the kind. I contend that we ought to consult the people. The honorable senator has forgotten that it is certain supporters of the Bill who say that they will not take the additional allowance.
– Who are they? I have not heard of any.
– I shall not mention any names, but assume that there are some honorable senators who say that. This reminds me of the Pharisee who stands afar off, and says, . “I am not like this publican.” I am not prepared to assent to the Bill without the people, who had an opportunity of dealing with the matter in the first instance under the Constitution, being consulted. To accomplish that there are two methods which can be pursued. One is to vote against the second reading of the Bill, and the other is to move an amendment in Committee if the Bill should pass its second reading. I intend to take both courses. I shall vote against the second reading of the Bill, and then, if that is carried, I shall move an amendment with the object of deferring the coming into operation of the measure until after the next general election.
– In- rising to support the Bill I agree entirely with what has been said in connexion with payment of members, and the inadequacy of the present allowance. But I differ entirely from Senator Sir Josiah Symon in his new-born zeal to refer to the people everything which is done in the Federal Parliament.
– I made no such suggestion.
– The honorable senator was mixed in his Scripture, and he must be mixed in everything else. He said that the Pharisee stood afar off. I never heard . of the Pharisee standing far away when there was any money to be had. It was the priest and the Levite to whom ti e honorable senator ‘ alluded .
– It just was not.
– They stood afar off, and the prodigal son stood afar off. The honorable senator can classify himself and leave the poor Pharisee on this occasion to speak for himself. I am not backward in taking the responsibility, even of the Pharisee, in a question of this description. I ask honorable senators who are opposing what I call a reasonable allowance for the duties and responsibilities connected with the representation of the people, Have they always been so zealous about taking a vote of all the people on questions of this description? I can recollect the Barton Government introducing a Bill to increase the salary of the Governor-General. The Constitution definitely sets out what the salary is to be, and the very persons who,, inside as well as outside Parliament, are howling about referring this proposal to the people never hinted for a moment that a referendum should be taken on that Bill. Again, not long since, in another place, a Bill was passed under which nearly £500,000 will be appropriated in the payment of bounties to assist people in certain industries which I may say are mostly connected with the land. J do not hear of any honorable senators getting up and recommending that that Bill should be referred to the people. The Estimates, I believe, contain an item to increase the Naval Defence vote by nearly £250,000. Is any one suggesting that that proposal should be referred to the people? Here is a proposal which involves an annual expenditure of £20,000, or a little over one penny per head of the population per annum. It must have assumed a vast importance in a very short time. Yet its opponents want a referendum, although the Constitution distinctly stipulates that it is one of the matters on which Parliament is competent to legislate. If honor- - able senators will look at the Constitution, they will see that our legislative powers are classified. Some of them are of a general character. Parliament may adopt a kind of go-as-you-please policy. Every legislative power comprised in section 51 is of that open character. There is no suggestionthat such legislation should or should not be referred to the neople. There are some measures which, under the Constitution, must be referred to the people be- ‘ fore they can become law,’ but this Bill belongs to the class of legislation which has been left by the Constitution to the Parliament. If honorable senators will read the Constitution as it was intended to be read, they cannot come to any other conclusion. Senator Symon has practically admitted that it is the representatives of the people here who best know where the shoe pinches. I know men who, when they first entered this Parliament, incurred such expenses that they have not been able to get their heads above water since, and they are not likely to do so whilst the parliamentary allowance remains as it is. I know very well that the people of Australia, if they were not led away by the hysterical shriekings of - I am not going to characterize the press in any way - certain writers in the press, would come to recognise that the members of this Parliament are taking upon themselves a responsibility which they will have to meet in less than three years. I have no fear of what the verdict of the people will be when the position is put correctly. From the humblest to the highest person, who is not imbued with the spirit of the StinkingFish Party, which endeavours to discredit the Federal Government and Parliament and Australia in every part of the world, there is . no one who, when he has calmly considered the subject, will say that the members^ of this Parliament have done wrong in piassing this Bill. I scarcely think it necessary to put the position before honorable senators, because I believe they all know it very well, but the public ought to be taken into our confidence. We ought to tell them what we mean by this “grab,” as it is characterized by a section of the press; I call it this necessary increase in our allowance, to enable us to faithfully fulfil our duties to the people.
– The worst of it is that there was not a hint given of it to the public at the last election.
– There was. If the Age or the Argus were to whisper anything into the honorable senator’s ear he would take the shivers. That is the position of some honorable senators here.” ‘ The Age or the Argus has only to blow its whistle and they will round up like a flock of sheep, or, for that matter, goats. Members of Parliament’ who come ‘from -other States are not controlled by the Age or the Argus, or the Waipoles, or the Kyabramites of Victoria. On the contrary, thev are independent of those institutions and those anti-Federal newspapers.
– And anti-Tariffists.
– This agitation against increasing the parliamentary allowanceis run by the Age to take the attention of the Victorian’ public off the Tariff. I wish to show the public that the increase is necessary, so that the members of this Parliament can creditably perform their duties. I classify the country representatives of Victoria with those members of Parliament who come from distantStates. At show time hundreds of visitors come from the country districts of Victoria and from other States. They visit the Federal Houses of Parliament and interview their member. He takes them round the building ; he shows to them the extravagance that was incurred by Victoria years ago, and when he has done that, then,, in order to be on a level with his wealthy colleague, such as Mr. Knox-
– Do not mention any names.
– I am not saying anything which would -bring any discredit upon Mr. Knox. He is a generous- hearted man, and that is the very reason why I take him as am example. He can take his friends up to the refreshment room and entertain them with a cup of tea or a glass of wine after they have had the trouble of travelling through this immense club-house. Other members of Parliament like to be in a position to entertain their friends similarly. They ought to be in that position. We know that they, so far as they possibly can, treat their friends in a hospitable manner when they, visit the building. But there are newspapers and gentlemen who tell the public that this is a. club-house in which members of Parliament fret everything free, and can entertain their friends without cost to themselves. I want the public to know that that statement is not correct, and that a member of this Parliament has to pay for everything which he gets for himself or for his friends. I want the public to know, also, that, although the Labour bodies in various parts of Australia . are very generous and hospitable in entertaining and assisting their representatives all through the country, those representatives cannot possibly meet all the expenses which they must incur during an election time, or during the visits . which they ought to pay to their constituencies during the recess, or even when Parliament is sitting. Before half the session is over they cannot clear their expenses of the past election, and are in debt before the next one comes along. That is the position of every member who has not an income of his own like the honorable senator who has just displayed such anxiety to submit the question to the people. He - and I do not blame him for it - would not sacrifice . £100 or £1,000 that he could earn in Adelaide in the Law Courts simply because his representation of the people of South Australia in this Parliament demanded it.
– I have sacrificed a great deal more to come here.
– Very probably the honorable senator has secrificed a great deal more than I have, or than any other senator has, but he has not sacrificed everything, and that is what most of us have done.
– Cannot the honorable senator argue the question without these personal references?
– I cannot let the public of Australia know the true position unless I tell them exactly the existing circumstances. The honorable senator knows that these are the correct existing circumstances.
– I know they are not.
– I am not blaming the honorable senator or any other professional man who is a member of the Federal Parliament for doing all he possibly can to augment the allowance which he receives for his attendance here. But when that attendance is so absurdly small that the public recognise that he is paying more attention to his private business than to theirs, the public ought to have an opportunity of learning the facts.
– That statement is absolutely incorrect. The honorable senator is not in order in suggesting that I am giving more attention to my private business than to the public business of the Commonwealth.
– I presume Senator Symon is asking me whether Senator McGregor is in order or not. I would point out to’ him that that is a matter for the Chair to decide. The honorable senator is not in order in imputing motives or ascribing improper conduct to other honorable senators. It would be very much better if the honorable senator did not use any living examples as illustrations.
– I am not imputing any motives to Senator Symon. I say that he is only doing what I should do myself.
- Senator Symon looks upon the honorable senator’s remarks as imputing improper motives and conduct to him.
– Imputing to me neglect of my public dutv.
– Or as Senator Symon puts it, imputing to him neglect of his public duty. Although the honorable senator is attempting to justify what he said, an imputation of that sort will not be in order, and I ask him not to pursue the subject.
– I do not like to dispute your ruling, sir, because I admit your absolute fairness on all occasions. I am very sorry that I am out of order, and shall try not to offend again. I am not referring at all to anything which Senator Symon has done during the present Parliament. I want to tell the Senate, in order to illustrate the position, the advantage which Senator Symon will take of any statement which may be made so as to justify his position to the public. On one occasion when a Bill was before the Senate the honorable senator arranged with me that if it was not necessary for him to come over I should send him a wire. He said that he would be very much obliged if I did so.
-Colonel Cameron. - These are private matters.
– There is nothing private about it at all, because it was all made public.
– This is contemptible.
– I want to explain the position.
– Three years ago the honorable senator was leading the Senate. I asked him whether it was necessary for me to come over. He said “No,” and I did not come.
– At the last election the honorable senator produced my telegram and read it to the public as a justification for his not attending here.
– Hear, hear, for not attending on that occasion.
– He used that one occasion in order to justify all the rest, because I had sent him a telegram stating that it was not necessary for him to come oveP.
– The statement that I justified “ all the rest “ by that one telegram is utterly without foundation. If the honorable senator is going to drag up election speeches I can tell him a thing or two.
– It would be very much better if this topic was not pursued. I ask the honorable senator to confine himself to the question before the Chair. Senator Symon objects to any of these matters being brought forward, and they are really irrelevant to the subject before the Senate.
– Was Senator Symon in order in rising and interrupting the honorable senator who was addressing the Chair?
- Senator Symon rose, and I understood that Senator McGregor gave way to allow him to offer an explanation. Strictly speaking, an explanation can only be given after the honorable senator who is in possession of the Chair has finished his speech, unless he is prepared to give way. I understood that Senator McGregor was prepared to give way, and did so, as honorable senators frequently do in order that any other honorable senator, who considers that he is being misrepresented, may have a speedy opportunity of pointing it out.
– Senator McGregor was under the impression that Senator Symon was raising a point of order, which he did not do.
– I have justified my position, because my action on that occasion was given as the reason why the honorable senator’s attendances were not kept up.
– That is not so.
– I have explained my position, and shall not refer to it again. I was arguing that the public required to know all these things so that they might be awaie of the position in which their representatives stand, particularly those who endeavour to do all they possibly can to fulfil their duties to the electors in a creditable manner. I am sorry that any friction arose, but it only arose through Senator Symon’s impetuosity. I hope that when it is all over his opposition to the Bill will not be so serious as it may appear to be at present.
– This Bill has two sides to it. I propose to be perfectly fair by giving first what I believe to be reasons in favour of the Bill, and then possibly one or two reasons that may be urged against it. Before I go further, I should like to refer to the debates of the Convention, held at Adelaide in 1897. At the Convention, as Senator Symon has already told us, there was a difference of opinion as to what would be the proper remuneration or allowance to pay to members of the Federal Parliament. I shall quote a few remarks made by Justice, then Mr., “Higgins - to show, why the . Convention decided . to fix £400 a year, and to show also that it was recognised that it would be quite competent for Parliament, or for the people, if- they thought proper hereafter, to fix a larger remuneration. Justice, then Mr., Gordon had proposed the sum of. £500and Higgins said -
I think that, having regard to the fact that the Federal Parliament will have much less to do than the ordinary local Parliaments after the first Parliament, £400 is sufficient. I am as strongly in favour of payment of members, on the grounds alluded to by Mr. Gordon, as any man, but I say that the work done in the States Parliaments takes far more time than will the work in the Federal Parliament, after its first meeting. It is not likely, indeed, that the Federal Parliament will sit more than two months in the year. I should like to strike out “ four,” with a view to the insertion of “ three.”
One member of the Convention therefore, although supporting £400 in place of £500, thought that the Federal Parliament would probably only meet two cr three months in the year. If £400 was sufficient for that length of session, it is quite evident that it is not sufficient for such long sessions as we have been having. Senator Trenwith supported the proposal to make the amount £500 a year. I” propose to read some of his remarks, which I suppose he will consider still applicable -
I hope that Mr. Gordon’s amendment will be carried. We have no right to assume that the Federal Parliament will not have a good deal to do. All our experience teaches us that, as civilization advances, the requirements of the people increase, and the tendency to ask Parliament to do things that in the past have been done by private enterprise is increasing very rapidly. I feel confident that the Federal Parliament, instead of having less to do as time goes on, will have a great deal more to do. I think that it will be found to the advantage of the States to hand over work to the central Government. Of course, I can understand the objection that any sum is too much by those who disapprove of the principle of payment of members. But the principle of payment ofmembers has been adopted throughout all the Colonies. It was adopted after a good deal of resistance on the part of those who disapprove of it, which showed the strong growing public feeling in favour of paying members for the work they do, and of looking upon the position of a member of Parliament not merely as a position of honour, but rather regarding them as State servants who are paid for their work. We are paid not merely to reimburse us for expenses incurred, and to pay members of the Federal Parliament £500 a year would be little enough, considering that during a portion of the year they will have to be great distances from their established homes.
– Did I say that then?
– Then I say it more emphatically now.
– In one matter, I differ from Senator Symon, and agree with Senator McGregor. When the Constitution was accepted, with section- 48 in it, fixing the allowance to members at £400 a year “ Until the Parliament otherwise provides,” the public accepted the Constitution subject to the condition that Parliament might, in its discretion, afterwards alter the amount. There is therefore no necessity for a referendum on this question. After six and ahalf years’ experience, the members of this Parliament are much better able to decide what is a proper course to pursue than outside persons, who are simply arguing on a matter of which they have very little knowledge. My impression is - and here I differ from Senator Symon again - that if we were to attempt to put this proposal before the public, a great majority would vote against any increase. They always grudge giving increases to other persons. I am prepared, therefore, when the occasion arises, to take up the position that Parliament is the best judge as to the time when, and bv what amount, our emoluments ought to be increased. There are a good many members of this Parliament who have serious thoughts of retiring at the end of their term if their allowances are not increased. I am sorry that that is so, because those members have rendered valuable service, and it would be a pity that they should have tq - retire for that reason. I think we can take it that it is in the interests of the public that men with experience of Parliament, other things being equal, should have an opportunity of being re-elected. The very fact that they have been re-elected from time to time proves that the electors think that they have been doing their dutv satisfactorily. We are told also that Parliaments nowadays compare, unfavorably with those of days gone bv, and that this applies also to the Federal Parliament. When we look back to the composition of the first Federal
Parliament. -we must admit that, as a whole, we do perhaps compare somewhat unfavorably in calibre with its members.
– I do not admit it.
– I think every one will admit that a great many good men were members of the first Senate. I will mention a few. Amongst others, there were Sir Frederick Sargood, who has since died, Sir Richard Baker, Sir William Zeal, Sir John Downer, Mr., now Justice, R. E. O’Connor, ex-Senators Playford, Drake, Ewing, Ferguson, Harney, Higgs, Matheson, and Staniforth Smith. ‘ Amongst members of another place might be mentioned the Right Honorable Sir Edmund Barton, the Right Honorable Sir Edward Braddon, who has since died, Sir William McMillan, Mr., now Justice, Higgins, Mr., now Justice, Isaacs, Mr. Conroy, Mr. Allan McLean, Mr. Skene, and Mr. Sydney Smith. There are only seventeen honorable senators at present members of the Senate who were amongst the original thirty-six senators elected to the Federal Parliament. It must be admitted that, judging by the almost daily diatribes appearing in the press, and particularly in the Melbourne press - and I, for one, think that some of the statements made are entirely unjustifiable - the proposed increase in the allowance is very unpopular, and we can easily understand the feeling in view of the impending extraordinarilyheavy Customs duties. In New South Wales particularly, people regard the imposition of the new Tariff duties with abhorrence. I can speak for one or two collegiate institutions with which I am connected when I say that the authorities are making up their minds, if the new Tariff is passed, to increase the boarding fees charged next year.
– They are increasing the price of everything in New South Wales, whether it is affected by the new Tariff or not.
– One New South Wales publication which, I believe, Senator Findley reads with great pleasure, has published the following remarks, with which I coincide to some extent -
With all that can be said in its favour, payment of members has never. given Australia a Parliament as able, as honourable, or as highly inspired as the first Parliament of New South Wales.
That was an’ eminent Parliament. The same publication adds-
There is small hope that the increased payment will improve the parliamentary body, and whatever may be said of the situation of individual members, it is the Nation, and not individuals, that should be considered. . . . It is an unfortunate thing that its present introduction synchronises with the rise to authority of Sir William Lyne.
These remarks are published by a weekly newspaper called Australia.
– I have never heard of it.
– It is filed in . the Library at the present time. It is supposed to be an improved publication of the Bulletin type, and a very readable production it is. Now let us glance at the payment made to members of Parliament in other countries. In the United States of America, members of Congress get $5,000 a year each, which is equal to a little more than £1,000 a year.
– They get more.
– They also get $1,500, or about £300 a year each, for a private secretary. It is evidently considered there that a salary of ,£1,300 a year is not too much. I do not object to the adequate payment of members of Parliament, but I am not at all clear that the present is an opportune time to increase the existing allowance.
– It is always opportune to do right.
– When will the oppor-tune time arrive ?
– I will tell the honorable senator later on. In Canada the members of the Dominion Parliament receive £520 a year.
– And allowances.
– And the £520 is for the session .
– The Prime Minister of Canada receives a salary of £3,020 a year. Thirteen Ministers each receive £1,978 a year, and one Minister receives only £1,562 10s. a year. Ministers in Canada together receive £30,312 10s. a year as against £12,000 a year paid to Ministers in the Commonwealth. Members of the Canadian Parliament are paid an average of about £520 a year, and together their payment amounts . to £148.958 per annum. So that Parliament in Canada costs £179,270 10s. per year.
– The honorable senator is wrong ; the amount is over £200,000 a year.
– The honorable senator has omitted to account for some allowances.
– If I am wrong, my authority is Whitaker’s Almanac’
– The honorable senator’s figures put in that way do noi represent the actual cost of Parliament in* Canada.
– I wish to be perfectly fair to honorable senators who support the increased allowance. The Commonwealth Parliament costs £59,600 a. year. If it is thought proper to provide- for the increase proposed - £20,000 a year, since Ministers and officers of theParliament will not draw the proposed increased allowance - the total expenditure on’ this Parliament will amount to £79,600- a year, or practically £100,000 a year lessthan the annual cost of Parliament in Canada. In that country the payment of” members was increased by the Dominion Parliament without any referendum, and’ I may mention that an extraordinary thing, takes place there. They actually give the leader of the Opposition a .salary equal to that of a Minister of the Crown.
– That isalso done by the Imperial Parliament. ExMinisters in Great Britain receive a salary.
– I am aware that, they receive payment as ex-Ministers. Thisis the resolution which was carried in the Dominion Parliament of Canada -
That to the member occupying the recognised! position of the leader of the Opposition in theHouse of Commons -
The Canadian House of- Commons isthe same as the House of Representativeshere - there shall be paid an additional sessional allowance not exceeding $7,000.
The leader of the Opposition in Canada gets that amount in addition to the allowance of $2,500 to members, so that hereally receives £1,960 a year. In> France members of Parliament receive £600 a year.
– Has not the amount been lately increased to £1,000?
– - I believe that inArgentina members of Parliament receive a substantial allowance. I wish ‘in referring to these matters to be absolutely fair to honorable senators who believe that the increased allowance proposed should be paid. I think that when the proper timecomes the present allowance should beincreased, but I am not sure that the present is the right time. Honorablesenators will believe me- when. I saythat I am not speaking ‘in my own* behalf. I am satisfied with the allowance of £400 a year, but I agree that we tiave a right to consider the whole Parliament in this matter. We can all. admit that, however incompetent members of this Parliament may have been when first elected, their re-election has proved that the electors are satisfied with them, and they are becoming more useful as members of Parliament every day. I particularly sympathize with representatives and honorable senators coming from Western Australia and Queensland. I . should like to see something done for them even though nothing were done for the representatives of the other States. They are in a very different position from those who come from South Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania, and particularly Victoria. It seems to me that, even though we do not increase their salaries, we should give them an increased allowance in consideration of the great distance they have to travel to attend Parliament. Honorable senators may ask me now what I think we should do in connexion with this Bill. I have perhaps a peculiar answer to make when I reply that at present I think we should do nothing in the matter. In my opinion we should wait until the last session of this Parliament to propose the increased allowance, and should then go to the electors.
– The honorable senator will not be going to the electors then.
– That sounds very well, but if at the election the electors dis-“ approved of the increased allowance T should feel bound, if I were still a member of the Senate, to vole for a measure decreasing the allowance. It is not my fault that I shall not be retiring three years hence, though it is questionable whether I shall not retire before that time. I think Senator Neild’s interjection altogether irrelevant. If it should be’ proved at the elections that the electors consider a salary of £400 sufficient, I feel that I should be as much bound as those coming immediately from the constituencies to support a measure reducing the amount to £400. My own impression is that members of this Parliament should be paid more than they are paid at present, but I think it it becomes us at the present time to vote ourselves the increase proposed. That is the position I take up. I make the suggestion that an allowance of something like £2 2s. per day, and not exceeding in the aggregate £200 a year, should be paid to those who attend this Parliament from Queensland and
Western Australia. Many honorable senators seem to think that we are not paid sufficiently; and, to do them justice, even some members of the State Parliament hold the same view. I quote the following statement of the views of a member of the New South Wales Parliament -
With regard to the raising of Federal members’ salaries, 1 hold that £300 a year for a member of the State Parliament is equal to the £6oo that the Federal member will receive in the future. In America each member of the Federal Parliament receives£1,000 a year. I am heartily in favour of the increase to our Federal members, and I think it is only fair. I really do believe that I am as well off with a salary of£300 a year as the Federal member will be with£600. I repeat that I think £300 a year is a fair thing for the State member and£600 quite little enough for the Federal member. The amount of travelling done by some of the Federal members is enormous. Some of their electorates are really empires in area. It cost one of the Queensland Federal members no less than £200 to visit every portion of his electorate.
Those are generous remarks, coming from a member of a State Parliament, and I be-‘ lieve there is a great deal of truth in tliem. It is not every person who can afford to keep up two establishments, even during the time Parliament is sitting. I know that there are members of both Houses of the Federal Parliament who have to bring their families from Queensland and elsewhere to Melbourne during the time the Parliament is sitting. It has come to my knowledge that one member of this Parliament, and a very honorable man he is in every respect, who has had to do so, considers that he is losing £300 a yeaT by being a member of the Federal Parliament at the present time. Having stated the views I hold, I shall, of course, in the circumstances, vote against the second reading of the Bill. I believe that we should not pass such a measure until the last session of this Parliament, and should only make it applicable to the new Parliament to be then elected.
– Only a few days ago there was a very great temptation offered to honorable senators to allow this measure to go through with a mere expression of approval. But, owing to some of the criticism to which it has been subjected outside, criticism couched’ in language which we must all regret, riot because it is levelled at us, but, in my opinion, because it tends very much to lower the level of our critics, it has . become to’ some extent an obligation upon one to endeavour to set before the public arid his constituents the reasons why, as in my case, he intends to support the Bill. While I have no desire to enter upon an academic discussion, there are one or two things which it seems to me ought to be considered in determining one’s vote in connexion with this measure. I go back to the principle of payment of members, and ask myself what is underlying it ? In this matter it seems to me that as in many other matters we are, in Australia, developing an idea. Orieinally, as we all know, payment of members did not exist in Australia any more than elsewhere. The circumstances which gave rise to the growth of democratic ideas forced the question of the payment of members to the front. It was accepted then only grudgingly. If honorable senators take the trouble to peruse the debates in the several States Parliaments when the question of payment of members was debated, they will find that all through the opponents of the measure made no secret of their hostility to the policy. But at the same time a great many professed friends of the proposal only conceded it grudgingly. They felt that public opinion was setting in that direction, and they hesitated to oppose it any longer, but underlying their support was still this silent opposition. Consequently, what we call payment of members was conceded, not as payment for services rendered, but as an allowance or indemnity. That marked the first stage. We are reaching the second stage, ait which we must regard these payments not as allowances for out-of-pocket expenses, but must ask ourselves whether there shall be adequate payment for services rendered in Parliament as in every other walk of life. I am using a term to which frequently a sinister meaning is attached, when I say that we are going to have in Australia, whether we like it or not, professional politicians. By that phiase, however, I wish to be understood to mean men who will give the whole of their time and ability to the work in which they are engaged, and who will look to their parliamentary emoluments as their sole or chief source of income. The reason why we are drifting into that position, and why we have already made a great advance towards it, is not because of any demands made by politicians themselves, but because of the increased demands which the public are making upon members of Parliament. It is because of- those demands that members of Parliament are to-day unable to follow the example of those who preceded them a generation ago. To-day it is absolutely impossible for any member to give close attention to the duties of his office, and at the same time pay anything like an ordinary business-like regard to his own ‘private concerns. If my views be correct that we are going to have payment as a salary for services rendered, I am brought to this position : What is an adequate salary to be paid? And here comes to my mind what is really the crux of the whole question. Will the country best be served by such services as it may hope to obtain for a low salary, or will it obtain better services and better results if it offers such inducements as will secure to the constituencies the broadest possible choice, and will attract into Parliament the brightest intellects in the country ?
– T - To do that the payment would have to be £1,000 a year.
– I agree with my honorable friend. When, in time to come, Australia develops in the matter of population, and in breadth of view, her people will realize that they will obtain the best results by attracting to Parliament the brightest intellects in the country. And they are not going to secure the services of such men by paying salaries of £400 a year. Of course it is true that in the past men have been attracted to Parliament from all walks of life by their public spirit. I am proud to think that that has been the case in Australia, as in other countries. A large section of people exist who are attracted to parliamentary life bv the opportunities for public service which it affords. But it is impossible to expect men to neglect the just claims of their wives and families, and to disregard their own private interest, for public life, and, consequently, it will be the duty of the public, seeing that the public is well able to afford it, to pay to its representatives an adequate salary. Now, having pointed out what is the ideal at which we should aim to establish’ this position, which I frankly accept as a paid position, and to make it so attractive that we shall be able to secure to the constituencies the broadest possible choice, I wish to pass on to another point. If I understand the meaning of “democracy,” it is this: that all sections of the people shall be fairly represented in Parliament. The first reason why payment of members was introduced was, I believe, to enable those who are less richly endowed with this world’s goodsthan are others, to take a seat in the Legislature, and to enable the people to- send in men of their own class, and their own calling. The payment accorded, however, only half carried out the idea. It still left out of Parliament another class altogether which is entitled to representation. That is, those men who, whilst not rich enough to come here to the absolute neglect of their own private affairs, still are not prepared to come here for the £400 which has hitherto been the salary paid. The remuneration ought to be such as will enable every man in the country who has the ability to present his case to the electors, and to command their confidence, to come here without let or hindrance. To secure that end, the allowance will have to be made larger than it is now. In determining, what is an adequate salary, I should like to refer to one or two matters, one of which has been referred to already by Senator Walker. In comparing the remuneration paid to a member of this Parliament with that paid to State members, I wish to point out that the ordinary Federal member of the House of Representatives for New South Wales represents five districts, which return five State members, who receive in the aggregate £1,500 per annum, as against £600 now proposed to be paid to the one Federal member. I .wish to point out also that while a Federal member represents an enlarged area, there must necessarily be enlarged demands upon his time, and the difference is accentuated by the increased demands that are made, most unfairly., I think, upon his pocket. Then take the case of a senator. I wish to say as little as possible about .the Senate, but I must point out that in the case of my own State, a senator represents a district which returns ninety members to the State Parliament. ‘ It does seem to me to be essential that when we are comparing the amounts paid to State members as against those paid to Federal members, we should also pay attention to the areas and to the various interests and classes represented, and with which Federal members are familiar. I should like to add a word to what has .been said about Canada. Senator Walker has referred to the amounts paid to members of the’ Dominion Parliament. I think he will find that the figures he gave do not represent the total cost. I find, from the Canadian Year-Book, that the total cost of the Dominion Parliament, which, of course, includes the increases to which reference has been made, comes, roughly, to ,£210,000.
Those figures are of importance for this reason : I find a tendency on the part of the press to institute a comparison between Australia and England. It is all very well to take the circumstances of art old and settled country like Great Britain and to institute a comparison between them, and those of a young country with enormous areas like Australia. But surely a fairer comparison is that which can be made with Canada. There were in the Canadian Parliament some time ago - I think there has been an increase since - 284 members in the two Houses.
– There are 301 now.
– I thought the number had been increased. We have about 100 members in the Federal Parliament in Australia.
– That is to say, there are three times as many members ire Canada.
– Yes. The population of Canada, however, is only 5,750,000, as against from 4,250,000 or 4,500,000 in Australia. If the critics of this Parliament can find any justice in instituting a comparison between Australia and Great Britain, I also invite them te* make a similar comparison between Australia and Canada.
– There is also a special allowance to the leader of the Opposition in Canada.
– Yes, an allowanceis made to the leader, of the Opposition, iri addition to his ordinary parliamentary salary. In addition to that, I find that members of the Canadian Parliament receive an allowance for secretaries and clerks, but just how much that amounts to I cannot say.
– In Canada, the payment is what is called a sessional allowance, but there may be two sessions in one year.
– The cost of the secretaries and clerks has to be added” to the parliamentary allowance, and, of course, increases the cost of Parliament in Canada. The members of this Parliament who, as is frequently the case, require to have some typewriting done in the discharge of their duties, have to pay for it out of the amount which they receive, and which the public assumes to be payment for services rendered. The parliamentary allowance in Canada is something like £550 a year. But Senator Lynch has pointed out that that is called a sessional allowance. In a year like this, in which we are in the second session of our Parliament, a Canadian legislator would receive something like £i,roo. I do not know, however, whether Canada is in the habit of having two sessions a year, but, in any case, if a session lasted only one day, the full allowance would be paid. Now I should like to make a quotation from a speech delivered -by Sir Wilfrid Laurier in submitting the proposal for an allowance to the leader of the Opposition. I hold that the very reasons which he advanced will be recognised in Australia as good reasons for the proposal now before us.
– But in Canada a Ministry lasts over twenty years sometimes, and the leader of the Opposition would starve if he received no allowance.
– What does that mean? It means that Canada is not prepared to see a gentleman in that position doing public work year after year, becoming poorer and poorer in the service of the country which he serves. We (have seen too much of that sort of treatment of public men. But I decline to believe that the people of Australia desire to see those who undertake public work placed in such a position. The passage from Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s speech to which I have referred is as follows -
We acknowledge that it is better for the country, that it is indeed essential for the country, that the shades of opinion which are represented «n both sides of this House should be placed as far as possible on a footing of equality ; and that we should have a strong opposition to voice the views of those who do not think with the majority ; and moreover, that we should have that legitimate criticism, not only legitimate criticism, but necessary criticism which is essential to good Government in any land. I have thought for a long time that it is not fair that the person who holds the position of leader of the Opposition should be called upon to give his services to the country without any remuneration at all. It is not to be expected that he can give to the discharge of his important duties the attention which they need and demand. It is not to be expected that if he has to pursue his ordinary avocation as well as attending to his public duties, he can do the two things at one time. Either his public duties must suffer or his own private duties must suffer, and under such circumstances I think the country is rich enough to pay the services of the gentleman who for the time being is discharging the important functions intrusted to him.
Now, Mr. President, that quotation expresses my own view absolutely with regard to making provision for the payment of those who have to lead the ‘Opposition in the other House; and the argument there advanced applies equally well to the step which the Government now invites us to take. If I may paraphrase a portion of Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s speech, it is of importance that Parliament should represent, not merely the majority and a minority, but that each of the sections of public thought in the country should have the widest possible choice in sending to Parliament the best persons who can be found to carry out the views of the electors. There is another way of determining whether the allowance to Members of Parliament is reasonable, and that is by a reference to our own Public Service. So far as we can institute a comparison between things which are dissimilar, let us- ask ourselves if the amounts which are paid, not to the heads of Departments, but to subordinates, are regarded as excessive. In New South Wales, our UnderSecretaries receive £1,000, and upwards, with, of course, travelling expenses. But, without taking the responsible heads of Departments, let us take the chief clerks, superintendents, inspectors, and others, who are receiving a larger amount than the members of this Parliament receive. It is difficult to institute a comparison between things which are dissimilar, and I merely refer to it to point out that, unless this Parliament is made more attractive to ordinary business men, it is impossible to export that it will attract the best intellects of the country. If other avenues, public or private, offer greater inducements, we shall undoubtedly find that the most capable men will drift into them. What is the! position in private employment?! I believe I am correct in saying that banks pay their head managers, at any rate, in New South Wales, a salary of £3,250. That amount is also paid to the chief responsible officer of the great Australian Mutual Provident Society. I think I am within the mark when I say that in the chief cities of Australia there are .dozens of directorates where £100 or £200 a year is paid for one hour’s attendance per week.
– Up to £400 a year.
– I should like to be a director on that board. I have not heard of any tremendous outcry that the amount was excessive. It seems to me that the only time when the question of excess payment comes in is when an unfortunate member of Parliament is to be the recipient of it. I desire to read a quotation from an article which, I must say, had a great deal to do with determining the attitude I should take on the Bill. The impression which I then formed is in no sense weakened by the fact that, now that the proposition has become a concrete one, that journal, for some reason or other, has suddenly changed its attitude, and is opposing this concrete proposal on the very grounds which it put forward but a few weeks ago for supporting it. .The article is headed “Badlypaid Politics.” I may explain that quite recently Australia was visited by Professor Jordan, who, after having delivered a series of .lectures, contributed a few brief impressions to the press of Sydney. Among other things, he said that Australia paid its politicians only the price of professional failure. It was oh that statement of Professor Jordan that this article headed, “ Badly-paid Politics,” was written -
We welcome it none the less cordially because he has said what most of us have always thought. He says there is too much politics in New Zealand, and we change the name and apply his tale to any one of the States. There is too much politics in Australia. When at intervals we are confronted with the statistics of our political machinery we marvel at the inertia oE a people that can endure them. There are too many Parliaments, too many Ministers, and loo many Governors, and, what is worst, there is too much for them to do. Here it is that Professor Jordan indicates the danger that underlies our system of democracy and seems peculiar to it. With all our astonishing abundance of workers the work of Parliament demands even more from a politician than it does elsewhere. It demands in Federal politics; at all events, such a distraction of his energies that he cannot hope for distinction in his profession, and is singular if he preserves his standing in it. In the State Parliament it is scarcely less exacting, for, though the idea of decentralization has been so far carried into effect that a member is relieved of a substantial part of his burdens, politics cannot be regarded as anything but the chief burden of those who undertake it.
The reason of this exigency is, as Professor Jordan recognises, the wide influence in Australia that legislation exercises over our daily lives. Our laws for the protection of the weak and for the restraint of competition are as strange to American ideas as the stories of mob domination and municipal corruption in California are to us. The contrast shows how important is the work of our politicians, and accounts for this criticism of their character and training. What sort of men, an American naturally asks, do we choose to be rulers of our daily lives, and what reward do we offer them? ‘ The parliamentary salary is, as is pointed out, not larger than the reward of professional failure. Popular applause when it is given is not a very satisfactory or very reliable asset. What, then, are the men we get, or ought to expect to get, for nothing? And how ought we to supply whatever deficiencies they show ? The answer to these questions is part of the lament of many Australian citizens after, each general election. The rewards offered are sufficient to attract the best intellectsfrom one party, but not from the others. Public spirit is a sufficient spur to a few only to ignore the chance of professional advancement or the claims of their home, and the difficulty that is felt in choosing candidates manifests itself throughout the debates.
That is the prime reason why I support the Bill. There is an admission from a leading journal which certainly opposesthe Bill, that we are paying our men only such sums as fail to attract the brightest intellects of the country. It is not, therefore, to be wondered at, if we can believe our newspaper critics, that Parliament is making so many mistakes, always appearing to do that which it ought not to do, and leaving undone that which it ought: to da That seems: to arise from the inefficient men who are sent in under a system which the newspapers apparently wish to> continue.
– I do not like that argument.
– I am only putting- it from the stand-point of our journalistic: critics. They take up the attitude that: the Parliament to-day is inefficient, incompetent, and unpatriotic. But that, I contend, is the result of the system which* they ask us to continue.
– If it is a* fact.
– These journalistic critics, who are shoulder to shoulder with my honorable friend in opposing the Bill, take up that position. If they believe in the arguments which they advance, and are logical, they must do one of two things. They must say either “We prefer this; system, with all those unfortunate results,” or, “ If we want better results, we must, be prepared to adopt a remedy.”
– I consider that we have a verv efficient Parliament, elected on an allowance to each member of £400 a year. It is too cheap, I think.
– I may agree with my honorable friend, but I want to point out the position in wh’ich our journalisticcritics are. They are continually pointing out that the Parliament is not what itought to be, what it used to be, what they expected it would be, or what it would beif they had their way. If the Parliamentis, as thev point out, inefficient and incompetant, the remedy is in their own hands, and the only thing we have to do is to try to make the Parliament more attractive tothat better class of men who, I hope, wilt find less vigorous critics in the press. Ii -desire to say a few words about the provision in the Constitution for an allowance. A great deal is made of the fact that an allowance of £400 a year was fixed in the Constitution, but I wish to point out that it was a compromise between those who were opposed to payment of members and those who were not.
– There were those in the Convention who were opposed to payment of members.
– Nominally it was a compromise between £300 and £500 ; but what about the speech made by Sir John Forrest ?
– In the Convention there was no one against the payment of members.
– It is impossible, at any rate, for me to read the debates of the .Convention without coming to the conclusion that it included men who were absolutely opposed to payment of any kind.
– Very few.
– There was absolute unanimity.
– It was decided to do most of the work in committees, and all we know is that when certain provisions were submitted to the Convention every one was unanimous. Was there the same unanimity in the committees?
– A committee was only a small part of the Convention.
– We do not know how the compromise was arrived at in the secret committee. If we turn to the debates, and look at the speeches of Sir Edward Braddon and Sir John Forrest, and the interjections of other delegates, we shall find that there was a considerable section who were opposed to payment of members.
– Very few, indeed, if an v.
– I am only stating my impression. Other than the gentlemen I have named there was no one who stood out as an absolute advocate of nonpayment of members, but it is impossible, at any rate for me, to read the debate without coming to the conclusion that the allowance of £400 ‘was really a compromise between those who wanted adequate payment, those who wanted a smaller payment, and those who did not want payment at all. Senator Walker has read a quotation from a ‘speech by Mr., now Justice,
Higgins, in which he expressed his belief that the Federal Parliament would sit only two months in the year. That is another of those pre-Federal prophecies which have been absolutely falsified. I find that during a period of six years - that is excluding the present year - the Parliament has sat for forty-three months. That is at the rate of seven months per year. If -we take Mr. Higgins’ estimate, we ought to have received £1,050 per year. I do not lay too much stress on that, but I want to point out that if there were many men like Mr. Higgins, who supported an allowance of £3°° .or £400 because they thought that Parliament would sit only two or three months a year, it is not an unreasonable thing to increase the allowance when we know that the demand made on the time of Parliament has represented seven months per year. Like other sections of the Constitution, section 48 begins with the words “ Until the Parliament otherwise provides.” It is sought to make out that we ought not to alter the section without a specific reference to the people. First of all, how are we going to get a reference ? Is it to be by means of ja. referendum? If that were suggested Senator Symon would possibly be as strong as I should be in denouncing it. Is it to be done at a general election? Suppose that it had been attempted at the last general election. Does any one think for a minute that with the larger question of the Tariff hanging in the balance, the matter would have been considered? Would it have been contended that Senator Trenwith had won a strongly protectionist seat because he had advocated an increased payment of members, or that I - a free-trader - had been beaten because I had advocated a reduced payment? It would be impossible” except bv means of a referendum, to . get a distinct declaration’” of opinion from the electors. It was left to the Parliament to deal with the question of payment of members. I do not know how the senators from Tasmania feel ; but, knowing the strong leaning which Senator Dobson and -others from his State have towards economy. I think it is probable that they will not see eye to eye with me. I believe that the Tasmanians, as a body, consider that th« time has arrived when we ought to substitute a pooling system for the bookkeeping system. It is competent for the Parliament to take that step,, because the bookkeeping period is only fixed “ until the Parliament otherwise determines.” Let me put a question to Senators ‘Mulcahy and Dobson. If that matter is brought up this session, and if I then feel, as I do now, a strong tendency to support them, am I to say “ No. Although I believe it is right, and to the best interest of Australia to do what is proposed, I cannot give a vote for it, because it involves a considerable sum, until the matter has been definitely placed before the electors”?
– I will answer the question.
– I shall await the honorable senator’s answer. If Senator Symon’s argument applies to section .48 of the Constitution, it applies also to all the other provisions of the Constitution where power is given to the Parliament to alter what is fixed. Those matters were approved by the people at the referendum with regard to one section as much as to the others. If we have no right to touch one we have no right to touch the others until the whole matter has been submitted to the electors themselves.
– Does not the honorable senator think there is a slight difference between this case and the others ?
– I must honestly say that I cannot see it, unless Senator Symon wishes to take up the position that we are mere delegates. I do not take up that position, and I am sure that he will not. Something has been said here and outside about our paying ourselves. I do not mind that so much coming from outside, but when it comes from members of this Chamber, I am naturally’ anxious to know - when they say they believe in a higher salary being paid, but that the time is not opportune - what time they do regard as opportune. Fortunately we have extracted from them what they think would be the proper psychological moment. Both Senator Symon and Senator Walker think that we ought to pass such a Bill, believing in the principle as they do, towards the end of the present Parliament, and make it apply to future Parliaments. They strongly object to members voting so as to pay themselves. But, bring this Bill in at any time you like, and half the Senate will have to vote to pay itself. Those two honorable senators, who object to doing it now, would be just as much voting to pay themselves if the Bill applied only to the next Parliament as they would be if they voted so as to make it apply to this one.
– I did not say anything about members paying them» selves. I .said I would give the people an opportunity of dealing with the matter.
– If we pass the Bill now, I do not believe that the next election will be fought on this comparatively trifling question. It will be fought on some bigger national issue, and so it is not likely that if this Bill passes into law now it will be disturbed at the next election. Consequently, half the Senate, including Senators Symon and Walker and myself, who have practical Iv a six year’s term to run, will have voted that increase to themselves without reference to the electors. But there is this difference, that whilst apparently thev see no objection to voting money to themselves for three years,” they take strong objection to voting it for six. I can see no difference in the ethics or morality of the thing, if such terms come into the question at all, whether the period is for three or six years.
– Is there not something in letting the people say whether the money ought to be paid 01 not?
– I see a difficulty in getting a straight and definite expression of opinion from the people by any means short of a referendum.
– They should be given an opportunity of saying whether they do approve of it or not.
– An opportunity of which the honorable senator knows that the people could not avail themselves. I admit that it is competent for every constituency which indorses the hysteria that has been evidenced outside, to regard this proposal as so important as to allow it to overshadow all other issues, and to make it a test question at the next election. Therefore, the electors will have a full opportunity, if they regard it “as of sufficient importance, to give a vote upon it. The chief objection to this proposal seems to come from Victoria. It may be due to the fact that Victoria is rather fortunately and favorably situated so far as attendance at this building is concerned. I am not making that any cause of quarrel with my Victorian friends, but circumstances have decreed that the Parliament shall sit here. Consequently, Victoria is the best placed State in the Union. It has always been one of the grievances voiced by the press of my own State that, owing; to the retention of Melbourne as the Seat of Government, New.
South Wales is handicapped. It has been pointed out time and again, almost in the words I am going to use, and certainly in their essence, that Victoria, as the Parliament sits in Melbourne, is enabled to obtain the’ services of its best and most capable men, whereas New South Wales is denied the assistance of many men whose presence in public life would be desirable if they could be induced to come forward. Probably Victoria has not quite recognised the severe handicap which is placed upon representatives who come from other States. New South Wales is badly off in all conscience in that regard, but other States are even worse placed. New South Wales members and senators can go home at the week end, so that we have at least an opportunity of renewing our home associations, although a very poor opportunity of attending to business. But those who come from Western Australia, Queensland, and the more distant parts of South Australia, are absolutely denied even that privilege.
– And also those from the southern portion of Tasmania.
– The same does apply to Tasmania, although its representatives have the compensation of an occasional trip in the Coogee. With regard to this Victorian opposition, I should hesitate to think that Victorians have a less just estimate of what work is. worth, or are less fair-minded in this regard than are others. I can only assume that the strenuousness of the opposition which has displayed itself in Victoria is due to the fact that they have rather limited their inspection of this Bill to a purely Victorian stand-point. Even in this State, where the opposition has been so pronounced, I should not hesitate to address a public meeting on the question. I would as soon address one in Victoria as in any other State, because I believe I could rely upon -the fair spirit of the people of Victoria, and upon a just estimate on their part of the issues involved in this matter, as much as I could in a similar meeting in any other State.
– The honorable senator had better attend the meeting to-night.
– I should not be slow to do so,, if the honorable senator gave me a chance to get this Bill out of the way . first.. It has been suggested outside, and probably will be here, that the proposal ought to be referred to the people. When I read that suggestion in one of the daily organs in Victoria - the.
Age - I wondered if that paper would be equally sympathetic if I suggested sending the Tariff to the people by a referendum. I will make a fair sporting offer to the Age. I will give a vote to submit this proposal to the people bv referendum, if the Age will agree to do the same with the Tariff. I wait to see what answer will be given, to that offer. But, joking apart, if there is anything in the referendum at all, and if we are to be urged to send a measure of this kind to the people, Parliament might with even greater reason be asked to submit the Tariff to the people. That is an important question, which, we are told, will determine our fiscal future for many years to come, which does, temporarily or otherwise, throw a large additional burden of taxation upon the people, and which disturbs, temporarily it may be, many industries. The real point at issue is, “ Will this Bill make for the benefit of the country ? “ I say honestly, conscientiously, and in all earnestness that I believe that, by widening the choice of the constituencies, and by attracting to this Parliament the best men of Australia, whatever party they belong to, we shall do much not merely to lift the status of this Parliament, but to improve the legislation which we pass here, and to’ broaden that destiny towards which we believe Australia is tending.
– I shall feel it my duty, in the interests of the State which I represent, to record a vote against this Bill. At the same time, I want it to be clearly understood that I do not wish my constituents to view me as a man who is putting on a garment of spotless virtue on this occasion. I say quite frankly that, although my vote would go in the same direction if I knew it would have the effect of defeating the Bill - which I know it will not - I should vote reluctantly in that way, and with a feeling that I was doing an injustice not only to myself, but also to a large number of members of this Parliament. I admit at once - speaking from experience - that the salary is not adequate for members from other . States. We have to leave our homes. If we are running a small business, we speedily find that we cannot control it.
– It becomes smaller 1 still.
– Until it finally disappears altogether. That is my experience, as it is the experience of others. Men who come to this Parliament with every. desire to do justice to their country find that they are making a very much larger sacrifice than they ought to be called upon to make. Before I sit down I shall tell honorable senators the reason why I am compelled to vote as I intend to do. Before doing so I should like to express my resentment of the remarks of the leader of the Senate about those who are going to vote against the Bill. I shall have no conscientious objection to collecting the extra £200 a year, and I shall feel that Tasmania, in paying her proportion of that sum, is only doing justice to myself and her other representatives in this Parliament. It was hardly the correct thing for the leader of the Senate, in introducing the measure, to imply that any honorable senator who opposed it had anything pharisaical about him.
– I did not say so. I objected to men getting up and declaring that it was wrong and wicked and unconstitutional.
– What 1 have stated was the inference I drew from the honorable senator’s remarks. I am glad that he did not intend it. Although I differ from him- I differ also from Senator Symon in another important aspect of the question. I have, if I may say so without rudeness^ a higher conception, not only of the responsibility, but also of the dignity of a member of Parliament. If we, representing the people of Australia in this and the other Chamber, are not fit to ad:judicate upon a matter like this, we are not fit to be here at all. It is undoubtedly a delicate question for us to handle, and exceedingly delicate for those who are going to vote for the Bill. But at the same time the people who have sent us here are the people who agreed to the Constitution, which placed in our hands the full power to deal with the subject. It is frequently urged that we ought to ask the opinion of the people. I quite concur in that view, if we could find any means of doing it. But it is not to be assumed that that is a general principle to which we can all subscribe. I -was a member of a Government in Tasmania which put legislation on the statutebook, although they knew at the time that it was intensely unpopular throughout the State. They paid the penalty afterwards of being rejected for doing what the people have since admitted was the right thing. If we had called for a referendum on that question of imposing the income tax on the people of Tasmania, what reply would we have received? The people did not understand the position of their finances so well as Ministers did, and they would have said “ No,” although it was proved to them afterwards that we did the right thing. So it will be in this case. If we- can judge by the press, the general attitude of the people is against this pro:posal, and so far as we can learn by con,versations with people we meet during our short visits home, there seems to be a general feeling against it. But there is an election every three years, and then the people have the right to speak. They can put to every candidate the question, “ Are you in favour of’ the payment of this £600 a year, or of reducing it V If, at the next general election, the majority of the people consider the payment proposed too high, they will have an opportunity to demand its reduction. The Government of the day, who should have taken the responsibility for this Bill, if it is a good Bill, have provided in the Budget for the current year for an enormous increase in expenditure, to the extent of nearly £1,000,000. They hope to meet, it very largely from the new Tariff, from which and from other sources increased revenue to the extent of ,£920,000 will be drawn from the pockets of the people next year. Even then, according to the Treasu-rer s statement, a deficit of £60,000 is anticipated. That is to say, the Government propose to spend £60,000 more than they, expect to collect. In the face of that announcement, and in the face of the very serious financial position of Tasmania at the present time - which the Government are making no effort to improve - no representative of that State can vote for any increase in expenditure, even though it should be much more justifiable than that which we are now considering. I do. not wish it to go forth to the’ people of Tasmania that I am acting under, a cloak in this matter. I am strongly in favour of the adequate payment of the man who does the work. It is within my own knowledge that many able men iri Tasmania are unable to submit themselves for election to this Parliament because they cannot afford to do so. They are men who, I believe, would be ‘returned if they sought election, and would do justice to the State. In the circumstances to which I have referred, I feel it my duty to vote against the. Bill, although I agree with the principle of it.
-Colonel CAMERON (Tasmania) [5.33]. - I have listened with great interest to the manner in which this proposal has been advocated by nearly every member of the Senate who so far has spoken. If mine is to be the only jarring note, I am very sorry for it, but I hope honorable senators will allow me to trespass upon their time for a very few moments in dealing with the Bill. Personally, I am against the payment of members at all, but I admit that the principle has been accepted by the people, and is embodied in the Constitution. The people have also decided that the payment of members of the Federal Parliament shall be £400 a year. I am ready to admit the right of members of the Federal Parliament who find that this amount is not sufficient for their ordinary requirements to ask for some increase in the payment fixed by the Constitution. But there is a right way and a -wrong way of dealing with a matter of this kind, and, in my opinion, the right way would be to refer to the people the question as to whether additional payment: should be given, and the further amount, if any, which should be paid. We have no right to depart from the terms laid down by the Constitution and vote to ourselves an increase of the emolument already approved by the public. Although I have taken an active part in Commonwealth politics since the establishment of Federation, I have never yet known this matter to have been made a prominent question in any State.
– How does the honorable senator know that it will be made a prominent question at the next election ?
-Colonel CAMERON.- I am speaking of what has passed and of what we are now proposing to do.
– The electors were satisfied to- leave the matter to Parliament.
-Colonel CAMERON. - That may be so, but I have no knowledge of it from any public statement I have heard made, or from any information given in the Senate to-day.
– Would not the honorable senator’s opposition to the principle of payment of members lead him to oppose the present proposal in any circum- stances ?
.- I should oppose the proposed increase in any circumstances. The particular point which I wish to make clear is that this is an occasion when the Senate, as a great body, intrusted with the guardianship of the interests of the people and the public expenditure, should iealouslv euard not only the public purse, but, I add unhesitatingly, the honour of parliamentary life. I say that this proposal to appropriate public money for our own use without the sanction of the people is a very serious one, and is not warranted by existing circumstances. I say, further, that it illbecomes members- of the Senate to determine a question which involves helping themselves from the public purse without permission. I regard this proposal as an act of plunder, which will disgrace the Commonwealth, and will leave a stigma on the Senate for all time if it should consent to pass the Bill.
. -As the newest member of the Senate, I approach the consideration of this question with some diffidence, because I have not had the experience which other members of the Senate have had to enable me to judge whether the allowance at present paid to members of the Federal Parliament is or is not adequate. If I were to judge by the statements which have been made here to-day, even by those who are opposing the Bill, or by conversations I have had with honorable members of another place, I should be bound co come to the conclusion that the allowance at present paid is not adequate for the duties to be performed, and the time and expense involved in attending co those duties. The stand-point from which I view this matter differs from that of other honorable senators, because I have not been -before the electors, and have not had an opportunity of stating my views on the question to them. I think it is probable that, if I had been before my constituents, I should have taken the position I do now, and should have said that, not having been in the Federal Parliament, I had not sufficient knowledge to enable me to judge whether the allowance at present paid is sufficient, and, therefore, reserved to myself the right, when I had obtained sufficient knowledge of the duties, responsibilities, and expenses of the position, to vote as I thought proper. But when givinrj my consent to be nominated for the Senate I knew what the salary would be, and, therefore, regarding myself as having undertaken a contract on certain terms, I do not think that I should be justified in voting for the Bill without going to my constituency and stating my position. Soon after I entered the Senate, this matter was mentioned to me, and I was asked what course I would take with respect to it: I said decisively that I would vote against any proposal for an increase of the allowance until I had an opportunity to lay the matter before my constituents. That is the position I take up at the present time. I shall vote against the second reading of the Bill, though I recognise, as has been pointed out by several honorable senators, that the present method of paying allowances to members of the Federal Parliament involves anomalies which have been very clearly pointed out by Senator Millen. If a salary of £400 a year is not adequate payment for members of this Parliament representing Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, or Tasmania, it must be very inadequate indeed for those who attend Parliament from Queensland and Western Australia. I place the representatives of those States in the same category. They are obliged to remain in Melbourne practically during the whole of the session. Unless a short adjournment over a few weeks takes place, they are unable, during the session, to return to their constituencies.
– And such an adjournment would apply only to the members of one House.
– Exa Exactly. Such an adjournment as that recently suggested would affect only members of the Senate. I recognise that as the representatives of those States are kept here for six or seven months in each year, members of the Senate especially coming from those States, must occupy the few months during which they can be in their own States in getting into touch with their constituents. They are, therefore, . obliged to devote practically the whole of their time to politics - in this building, while Parliament is in session, and travelling over the very wide area of their constituencies when Parliament is not in session. I recognise their peculiar position, and I should be quite prepared to support a proposal to give honorable senators a liberal travelling allowance according to the distance which they have to come to attend Parliament. I think that those who are residents of Victoria, but who live outside Melbourne and its immediate proximity, should also be considered. I should be prepared to support such a proposal.
– Without a referendum ?
– Yes Yes, without a referendum, because I believe thai a proposal of that kind would commend itself to every fair-minded man. One of my objections to the present Bill is that, while it would advance the salary of members of this Parliament by 50 per cent. - to £600 a year - it would not in any way remove the anomalies to which reference has been made. If £600 a year be no more than an adequate remuneration for members of this Parliament residing close to the Seat of Government, it must still remain a very inadequate remuneration for those who have to attend Parliament from very long distances, who have to neglect their business for the greater part of the year, and who, during the little leisure they have in recess, must be continually travelling through their constituencies in order to keep in touch with the electors. The VicePresident of the Executive Council has said that this is not a party question, and I find members of all parties and of all the States divided upon it. I am quite sure that the Vice-President of the Executive Council did not intend his observations to be taken in the spirit which some honorable senators have attached to them, but I take some exception to the view expressed that honorable senators who do not feel justified in voting for. the Bill should not accept the increased payment for which it provides. My objection to [he Bill is not a conscientious, but a constitutional, objection.
– Besides, if it becomes the law of the land, why should we not obey the law?
– Cer Certainly. I might consider the Federal aspect of the matter, and decline to place honorable senators from my own State on a lower level than those from other States who would accept the increased allowance. Let me put’ a more pertinent example. We shall presently have to consider a new Tariff, and in dealing with it I might favour the reduction of some duty therein proposed. If my views were not carried out, I should not be justified in refusing to pay a higher price -for the goods which I use. A proposal might be brought before the State Parliament to reduce railway freights and passenger fares.. If 1 opposed such a reduction, should I on that account continue to pay extra fares and an extra tariff on the goods which I forwarded by rail ? I give that illustration to show how absurd is the contention that because a senator opposes this proposal, he should not take advantage of the increased remuneration, which is intended to apply all round. There is also a- great difference between consulting the people upon a subject of this kind and upon an ordinary matter of legislative concern. A proposal which specifically affects members of Parliament by increasing their salaries is entirely different from one which affects the whole community. I hold that before the subject is dealt with finally, an opportunity should be given to the members of this Parliament to consult, their constituents. I am aware that at the last election many members of Parliament did bring the matter before the electors. Such members are justified - in fact, it is their duty - in voting for this proposal. I have not had an opportunity of submitting it to the people of South Australia, and, there-, fore, it is my duty to vote against it. I also think that there should be a. provision in the Bill such as was proposed in another place, to deduct a proportion of the amount from the salaries of members of this Parliament who are absent while Parliament is sitting, unless the cause of absence be sickness. Members of Parliament are paid by their constituents for discharging public duties.
– What would the honorable senator do in the case of a member of .Parliament who merely puts in an attendance and’ walks out again?
– It It should be possible to provide for such cases, and I hope that the honorable senator with his ingenuity will devise a means. But when honorable senators are paid for discharging duties to the country, and find that they can earn higher emoluments by attending to their own business, whatever it may be, I hold that a deduction should be made from the parliamentary salary whilst they are absent. They should not be ‘paid by two masters. It has been said that we ought to consult our masters with regard to this question. What should we do with a workman who left his job to attend to a private matter, and, at the same time, expected to be paid by his. master?
– Members of Parliament often do a good deal of work al. home.
– I s I shall oppose the Bill, in the first place, because I have not had an opportunity of consulting my constituents about it.
– The honorable senator has not many to consult.
– I h I have a great number to consult, and the area which I represent constitutes a very large portion of Australia.
– The honorable senator has only to go to Parliament House, Adelaide, to consult his constituents.
– M - My constituents are the electors of the State of South Australia, and I shall have to consult them before I can vote for a Bill like this. I shall also be prepared to support my colleague, Senator Symon, in any proposal which he may submit that the measure shall not apply to the present Parliament.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [5.52]. - I wish, in the course of my observations, to break new ground, and not to repeat anything that has been well or ill said in the course of the debate. But one or two points have struck me, to which I wish to refer. One is the matter upon which Senator Symon laid considerablestress, as other senators have alsodone, namely, that Parliament was elected’ under a tacit agreement that the duties of its members should be discharged for £400, and that therefore that rate should not be altered without a reference to the constituencies. I wish to point out what would become of this interesting proposal if the Bill introduced to-day were one to abolish the £400 a year now paid to members df this - Parliament, or to reduce it. How many members or how many newspapers would be found “ barracking “ for a referendum if it were proposed to reduce payment of members?
– That could not be done under the Constitution.
– The amount is only fixed- by the Constitution “Until Parliament otherwise provides.” Parliament can decrease just as it can increase the amount. Senator O’Loghlin is quite prepared to vote travelling, allowances without taking a referendum. What on earth is the difference between making a travelling allowance and increasing the general allowance? If £400 a year is to be regarded as the limit fixed by the Constitution, what authority was there to’ provide railway passes for members of this Parliament? That was done without a referendum or without even an Act of Parliament. Yet it most seriously increased the cost of maintaining Parliament. With the greatest respect, I am not prepared to assist in making the Federal Parliament a mere registry office of referendums to the people. If the people cannot trust the affairs of the Commonwealth to the members of this Parliament, it had better be abolished. As to ascertaining the will of. the people by means of the views expressed at al general election, no one for a moment pretends that the question of advancing the remuneration of members of Parliament by £200 a year would influence a dozen elections in the whole Commonwealth. Men are elected for other reasons and upon other grounds than so small a matter as that under consideration. It is about this month twenty-five_ years ago since I, in common with you, Mr. President, entered upon my first parliamentary candidature. Like you, sir, I sat in several Parliaments before the question of payment of members was ever mooted in New South Wales. That system was, possibly, then in existence in Victoria. During the years since I never voted for payment of members1. I did not support any such proposal, because while I approved of the principle, I doubted the wisdom of its application. But when the Commonwealth was established, a new departure was made. The principle of payment of members assumed a constitutional form. Therefore, the whole position to-day is different from what it was in the years to which I have made reference. I now find myself in the, position of a man who, never baying voted for payment of members before, is required to take up one of two attitudes. Either I have to give a vote for this Bill, or a vote against it. If I vote against it, I could not honestly subsequently take advantage of its provisions. Not only could I not do so, but I would not. I must either vote for the Bill, or refuse to take that which has been found necessary by very many members of this Parliament. I do not mind saying that I am a much poorer man than I was when I. first came here, and than I was when I first entered Parliament, because, unless a man happens by a fluke to obtain some unexpected good fortune, the whole course of parliamentary service is towards impoverishing him. No man ever became honestly rich by serving the people in Parliament, and no man can become honestly rich by serving them here.
– Not even if he is a Minister for a long. time?
– No, because the demands upon a Minister are greater than are those upon a private member. We hear about differences between the expenses of the representatives of one State and. the representatives of another State, but I am not prepared to believe that the representatives of New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania have such a great advantage over the representatives of even Queensland and Western Australia, because, if we do manage to get back at the week end as a common thing, the cost to me per week is as great as if I spent all the week in Melbourne. I can live in Melbourne comfortably on the money that I spend every week to come here, stay here, and return. Even though I do return at the week end, I spend as much in coming here and returning as I would require to keep me in equal -comfort here the whole week through. I have a wife and children to consider, and I cannot close my home and live .here. I am bound to be at the double expense, and .that is the position of most of us. I desire to mention a few matters which I think may be of interest by way of comparison. I believe that there is before the Chamber, certainly before the other Chamber, a proposal in favour of compulsory voting. I find that if the electors in New South Wales who failed to vote at the- last election were fined is. each it would provide a sum sufficient to pay the whole of the increased allowance for three years to the representatives of that State. I also find that if each of the electors who voted for me at the last election paid one farthing per annum, it would cover the entire sum to which, under the Bill. I should become entitled. If they were pleased to vote for me as they did, I do not think they would care to lose my services for the sake of a farthing each per year. I do not suppose that the press will publish any figures, because they are in opposition to things which have been printed lately. But I wish to compare the cost of the New South Wales delegation to this Parliament with the cost of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly alone. Apart from the Ministers of the Crown, the Speaker, and the Chairman of Committees,, who draw no parliamentary allowance, the Legislative Assembly contains eighty-one members, who draw £300 each, or £24,300 in all. In the Federal Parliament New South Wales is represented by six senators and twentyseven representatives. Of those thirty-three persons, four - three Ministers and the President - would draw, under this Bill, an allowance of £400 each, or £1,600 in all, while the other twenty-nine would draw an allowance of £600 each, or £17,400 in all. Even under the proposed increase the total representation of New South Wales in this Parliament would cost the State £19,000, as against the sum of £24,300 which it pays for its Legislative Assembly only. Under those circumstances, I do not think that there is any likelihood of the taxpayers of the State taking any exception to what the Bill proposes, because if honorable senators will look at the Constitution Act they will make this discovery, that there are no less than twenty-seven instances in which we find either the phrase, “ Until the Parliament otherwise provides,” or the phrase, “ Until the Parliament shall otherwise determine.” If we are to refrain from acting in those twenty-seven cases without consulting the people at a general election, or without taking a referendum, then I submit that the Constitution is an absurdity, and the Commonwealth a sham. How can we in every one of those cases consult the electors? The suggestion is intolerably silly. If we should do it in one case, we should do it in all. I know, of course, that those who will vote for the Bill will meet with a three weeks’ fault-finding on the part of people who do not comprehend not only the services that have to be rendered, and I hope willingly rendered, during the session, but also that there is practically no profession which a man can take up and earn a living at for six months during recess, and abandon for six months during session. That I find to be the most important point in connexion with one’s services here.
– It is not limited to professions,, but extends to trades and other occupations.
– If I did not use the word “trade “ I meant to include every profession, business, trade, or occupation. I have tried it for over six years, and I find that I cannot earn an income in the other six months which are more or less at my disposal. In recess how much .of our time is spent in travelling?* How much time is devoted to visiting our constituents in different places ? That is the only chance we have to visit them. How many agricultural shows must we not go to? All that involves travelling and expenditure. The duties and expenses of a Member of Parliament are not confined to his attendance in Melbourne during the session, but are continuous throughout the year.
– And even during the recess he is working for his country just as hard.
– Most undoubtedly he is ; I know that I’ am, and my correspondence requires daily attention. Of course, I do not suggest for a moment that I am differently placed from other members of the Parliament; but -my work is more or less continuous throughout the year. In New South Wales we have a Public Works Committees, just as in Victoria there is a Railway Standing Committee. The major portion of the former body are members of the Legislative Assembly. At one time they received larger fees than they get now. The chairman receives ,£3 3s. per sitting, and the other members £2 2s. each, and_when they leave Sydney they draw 30s. a clay as a travelling allowance, including Sundays. Compare that with what happens to a member of this Parliament, who at the most receives 25s. a day, excluding Sundays, for everything, including travelling and hotel expenses, for that is all that £400 a year amounts to. I have belonged to committees that have been concerned in trying to provide candidates at no less than three Federal elections. We have found over and over again that the men who were considered the best suited for the service- of the Commonwealth would not make the sacrifice involved when the allowance was only £400 a year. A selection committee is a hunting committee; it has to hunt up candidates, not to select them. It may be asked, If a man cannot” live on £400 a year, what is the good of the extra .£200 to him? To a wealthy man, I admit it looks paltry, but we all know that in our lives there have been times when the extra sum of £200 a year would have made all the difference between leeway and sailing a straight course. When I use the term “ straight, “ I do not mean honest, but keeping on the course of life and meeting one’s obligations.
– Avoiding insolvency.
– To many a man an extra sum of £200 a year might make all the difference between solvency and insolvency. For these reasons - in the interests of my State and in the interests ot the representation of the people throughout the Commonwealth in that they shall have a larger sphere of choice, and shall be able, I sincerely hope, to- find and obtain the services of men who cannot ‘ afford to come here on the present rate of allowance - I think it my duty to vote for the Bill, notwithstanding the proposition that the elec-, tors should first be consulted about the matter. May I, without tedious repetition, repeat these two propositions - first, that there would be nothing said about con- suiting the people by those who clamour against the Bill to-day, if it were a Bill to reduce the allowance, or possibly to abolish it; and secondly, that if I am to make one question, which is left by the Constitution to the decision of Parliament, a matter of referendum, I must treat the other twenty-six questions in the same way.
.- For several reasons I feel it to be my duty to oppose the Bill. I well recollect the debate in the Convention, and even if I had changed my mind on the subject, which I have not done, the part which I took then and subsequently, would preclude me from supporting the “Bill. As every one knows, the parliamentary allowance was first put down at £500. Some delegates, including myself, voted for £300, but finally I voted for £400, and that I believe was carried by about twenty-six votes to nine. When some one suggested that the allowance should be £400, Sir Edward Braddon interjected that that was £100 too much. Whether I was right or wrong in voting for £300, I thought that £400 was a fair compromise, and I think so still. I am’ struck with the change of view which has taken place both amongst Members of Parliament and in the press. Instead of there being a violent opposition to the change, as well as the mode in which it is being carried out, I believe that there is a very large majority of Members of Parliament and a section of the press who are prepared to -argue that £400 a year is too low, and that the allowance should be increased. But those altered opinions have all been arrived at upon what I regard as an unconstitutional principle. I congratulate Senator Millen upon his closely-argued, logical, and telling speech, but a great part of it rests upon a fallacy. He pointed out that in the Convention we readied one stage of payment of members by giving what is admittedly an allowance for the trouble and inconvenience, and particularly the expense, of attending to parliamentary duties, but he desired us to take a further step by paying members for their services by means of a salary, or whatever one likes to call it. The honorable senator desired that salary to be generous enough to induce the greatest intellects in the Commoiwealth to undertake the duties of Federal representatives. The honorable sena- tor, however, cannot read into the Constitution the principle of paying members according to the value of their services. He is in advance of every democracy in the world in taking up that position. The word specifically used in the Constitution is “ allowance.” We expressly refrained from attempting to give effect to the idea that we could compensate members for giving up their professions, trades, or businesses. We did not adopt the honorable senator’s notion of offering such a large salary as would purchase the services of the brightest intellects in the. Commonwealth. We recognised that no salary we could afford to give would purchase them. Not even £1,000 a year would attract many merchants, lawyers, or medical men away from their businesses or professions, at which they make incomes of .£2,000, £2,500, or £3,000 a year. The whole history of the democracies of the word is against the honorable senator’s contention*
– Not against the wisdom of it. 0
– The honorable senator’s wisdom is in advance of the opinions of the nations of the world. We have to deal with our. democracy as we find it. If we go to other democracies for evidence to back up the honorable senator’s views, we find that there is certainly a payment of £500 or £520 a year to members of Parliament in Canada, with a deduction of £3 for every day on which a member absents himself from his duty. In nearly every other case our salary is higher. In France, a democratic country, the allowance is £600. In Japan, it is .£200 ; and in Germany, £150 a year, with a deduction of £1 for every day’s absence. In New Zealand, the payment is £300. In Austria, it is 16s. 8d: a day. In Holland, Switzerland, and Norway, it is £100 a year and under - in two cases under. In Denmark, the payment is one guinea a day for six months, with 6s. 8d. for every additional day of attendance. In Italy, there is no payment at all. Therefore, nearly all democracies admit that payment of members is right, but that payment consists in a fair and equitable allowance to enable a man to live in reasonable comfort while attending to his duties. There, is no pretence whatever that it is meant to compensate a man for giving up a profession or for the loss of his business. We have heard a great deal about the expenses which members of this Parliament have to incur. I should like to get to close quarters with some of my honorable friends as to what they mean by expenses. I heard Senator Neild make an extraordinary statement’ about its costing him more to get to the Parliament than it does to live here.-
– I said that it costs me as much to:come to’ Melbourne and. return at the week-end- as it would to live in Melbourne for the whole week without the travelling.
Senator - DOBSON. - Some honorable senators have the notion that they should be paid’ a certain allowance for’ attending to their duties in Parliament, and that when the session is over a fair and reasonable allowance should be given to- them to enable them to visit their constituencies. They wish to anticipate Senator Millen’s argument- by asking the democracy of Australia to treat them as professional politicians, who give their whole time to their parliamentary duties. The greatest argument they can adduce for increasing their allowances is that during the intervals between -sessions they should be paid for going about the country visiting their electorates.
– That is’ not fairly stating my argument.
– I’ admit that that” is not- the honorable senator’s argument.
– I put it that the growing demands on members’ time, and the increasing- length of the- sessions, constitute a reason for the increase.
– I am sure the Convention did not contemplate providing an allowance for the expenses of members in attending to their duties in Parliament, and also giving them a salary sufficient to enable them to travel around the constituencies during the whole of’ the recess. I do not think this Parliament has contemplated any such thing, and we should make a great mistake if we tried it. But’ I wish honorable senators would state what their expenses are in attending this Parliament. In one respect, their travelling expenses are almost nil. We get all our railway travelling for nothing. .
– The -whole, of it?
– Yes, with the exception of meals- on the journey to Melbourne.
– The honorable senator gets his meals for nothing when he is well enough to take them, but we who’ travel by train do not.
– Every honorable senator is brought . here by steamer- or train. If he comes by train, he must’ spend, a few shillings on meals. On board, the steamer I frequently take no meals at all, although I have paid for them with Commonwealth money ; but I have to travel ‘ 120 miles on land to reach my home after I arrive at Launceston. I incur a small outlay of a few shillings, and, perhaps- sixpence, for meals on. that journey. Honorable senators cannot plead that travelling expenses cost them much. I come now to Senator Millen’s argument, that we are fast approaching the professional politician stage, and that the public are responsible to a great extent for this by making such enormous demands upon members, and so compelling them, probably against, their will, to give the whole of their time to politics. What are the duties of a member which take up the whole of his time dur: ing the recess.?
– I spoke of the fact that we are kept here for seven months’ of the* year, with every prospect of the session reaching to ten months. .
– The Senate sits three days a. week. .During the other three_days we have many hours to look up points, read Bills, reply to correspondence, and attend to the wants of our constituents. Three, large Departments - Customs, Post and Telegraph, and Defence - were, transferred to the Federal . Parliament. The whole of the Federal Public Service is controlled by a Commissioner. If any member has his time taken up by replying to letters from Federal public servants who desire to be transferred to a different class- -
– I was not speaking of that kind of correspondence.
– I hope the honorable senator was not, because every letter of that sort is simply an encouragement to a Federal public servant to break the regulations, and to try, through a member’s help and influence, to obtain over his fellow clerk” an advantage which he has no business to get.
– The Vice-Presi-. dent of the Executive Council informs me that he desires to make a most important announcement before the sitting is suspended. I therefore ask the honorable senator to continue his speech on the resumption of the sitting at a quarter to eight.
– As the Houses were meeting this afternoon, very important information came to hand, which the Acting Prime Minister at once took the opportunity of communicating to the other Chamber.,.. I have had no opportunity until now of making a similar announcement to the Senate. The Minister of Trade and Customs has informed me that he has been this afternoon advised by the Collector of Customs at Sydney that a number of men have taken forcible possession of a quantity of imported wire netting that had just been unshipped, in defiance of the Customs officers and contrary to the Customs Act. In this, action the law-breakers were supported by a fosse of police, who stated that they were acting under instructions from the State Government. Action is being’ taken in the matter to maintain the law and to uphold the authority of the Common wealth. I have taken this the earliest opportunity of .informing honorable senators of this important matter.
Sitting suspended from 6.27 to 7.4.5 -p.m.
Debate resumed (vide page 2098).
.- I am sure that honorable senators cannot contend that they have very much work to do in connexion with the Defence Department. If a soldier has a complaint to make it should be made to the proper military authorities, and not through the member who happens io represent him in this Parliament.
– Does the honorable senator say that members of the Federal Parliament have nothing to do in connexion with the Defence Department? I know I should like to take a week off.
– I am referring to complaints which members of the Defence Force have to make, and which I say’ should be made to the military authorities. Senator Neild speaks in a very breezy way, but it would be more to the point if the honorable senator mentioned what he has to do in connexion with the Defence Department. I know that some .members of the Federal Parliament have a great deal too much to do with some of the Departments. They do things which they were not expected to do, and which they are not paid to do.
– They have a good deal of trouble sometimes in keeping the Departments straight.
– Senator Neild, holding rank as a soldier may have ‘to do more work than most of us in connexion with the Defence Department. I can understand that members of this Parliament travelling about the country, are asked to secure post-offices here and telegraph communication there, but it is their duty in such cases to tell the applicants to make out as good a case as they can, and send it in to the Department, and probably to promise. to see the Postmaster-General when they get here.
– What is all the honorable senator’s correspondence about ?
– We have business and family correspondence, and no doubt a little political correspondence to keep up. The point” I am trying to make is that every honorable senator who has spoken in favour of the Bill has, quite unconsciously no doubt, exaggerated the work he has to do in connexion with the ‘public -Departments.
– The honorable senator should not say every member of the Senate, because I limited my remarks to the length of the session.
– Senator Millen was one of the greatest sinners in this matter, because he laid so much stress upon the demand which the electors make upon his time.
– The honorable senator is absolutely misrepresenting me. I referred to the demands made upon us to do the work which has to be done here. I did not refer to what honorable senators do outside Parliament.
– I should like to know what is the work which the electors insist upon our doing here.
– Let the honorable senator look at the business-paper.
– We have a member of the Parliament talking for five and a half hours on’ the Address-in-Reply, and another occupying -two, three, or four hours in introducing a Bill. If we wish to curtail our work the remedy is in our own hands, and we need not,, unless we please, allow our eloquence to run away with our common sense.
– The honorable senator talked for two sessions on one Bill.
– I am willing to admit that when the allowance to members of the Federal Parliament was fixed at £400 a year we could not quite foresee the duration of our sessions.
– That was my point.
-That is a fairly good point, and perhaps I should admit that I was wrong in contending that the allowance should be £300 a year. Still I point out that the remedy is in our own hands. I recollect telling my business partners that I should be away for four or five months for the first session or two, but that when the machinery Bills were passed I should not be away for probably more than three months in each year. I have had to pay rather dearly for my mistake. I have had to pay one-half of my parliamentary allowance into the funds’ of my firm, and, on account of my having unconsciously misled them as to the length of the session, I have had to give up a further portion of my allowance, and I get from it no more than £30 or £40 a year. My contention is that, in view of the conditions of life in Australia, and the salaries and emoluments earned by our fellow-citizens, £400 a year is a sufficient salary for a member of this Parliament. In order to back up my argument in this respect, I had a look at the statistics as published in the Victorian Register, and I have had the figures corroborated to-day by the Chief Clerk of the Victorian Income Tax Department. It appears that the persons who receive professional incomes of between £300 and £400 a vear are as follow : -
Civil servants, 180; clergymen, 105; barristers and lawyers, 90; medical men, 84; police officers, 19 ; teachers, 114; and other persons engaged in professions, 303; making a total of 895.
– That is exclusive of expenses ?
– That is so. I am dealing with net incomes. I find that the persons earning incomes of between £200 and £300 a year are : - Civil servants, 435; clergymen, 368 ; barristers and solicitors, 115 ; medical men, 86; police officers, 149; teachers, 502; and others engaged in piofessions, 782; or. a total of 2,437.
– Can the honorable senator say how the incomes of medical men are computed ?
– I cannot, but I may inform the honorable senator that, in connexion with the incomes to which I am re ferring, the expenses of earning them.- are deducted, and I have dealt with net incomes. In the Treasurer’s Budget speech there is a statement that one-third of the whole of the taxpayers are in receipt of incomes of between £200 and £300 a year. I contend that these figures support my view that ^400 a year is a fair allowance for members of this Parliament. We should pay some attention to what was done by the Federal Convention, which was composed of the most experienced and representative men of all occupations that could be selected. After deliberation and debate, the Convention fixed the’ allowance of members of this Parliament at £400 a year.
– “ Until Parliament otherwise provides.”
– I shall say what I think is the meaning of those words. When Senator Millen asks whether we should ascertain the wish of the people by a referendum or at the time of a general election, I answer that it ought to be in the usual way at the time of a general election. I recollect that on two different occasions some_ two or three years ago, the question of raising the salaries of members of the Federal Parliament was mooted. Heads appeared to have been counted, and I suppose it was found that there was not a sufficient majority in favour of the increase, because, so far as I know, the matter was absolutely dropped. It is only now, after the general election is over, that the question is brought up again, and a proposal is made that we should raise our own salaries by 50 per cent. I do not say that the opinion of the electors should be taken by a referendum, or that we should wait for an absolute mandate to deal with this question in the way proposed. If candidates for election had, in written or spoken addresses, made the statement that it was a part of the policy . of the Government to increase the allowance in the way proposed, members ‘of this Parliament who were then returned might have voted for the increase with a clear conscience. But in present circumstances it appears to me that we are being asked in a most improper way to do something which may or may not be right. If it is right, the more is the pity that we should do it in such a way as perhaps to sully the good name of the Senate. In my opinion, one of the strongest arguments against the proposal is that for generations to come it may be referred to as a precedent for doing things which may be no worse, or even as bad, as what we are being asked to do now.
– We are making no precedent. The Queensland Parliament did the same thing before.
– We certainly are making what, in my opinion, is an unusual, unconstitutional, and improper precedent. Senator McGregor has been one of the chief sinners in exaggerating the duties which have to be performed by members of this Parliament, and the sacrifices which they have to make. The honorable senator appears to think that members of the Federal Parliament should, in addition to salary for their services, be paid an allowance for expenses, and a little pocket-money to -enable them to entertain their friends when they wish to be shown round Parliament House. If that is to be the policy adopted, let us understand it. Senator McGregor - went on to say that some of us sacrificed everything. What on earth is the meaning of that? Probably the honorable senator’ meant to say that he is now a professional politician, has no other business, and gives the whole of his time to political work. So far as I have any knowledge of the honorable senator’s leadership of a party in the Senate, I admit that he has done his work well. . But I should like to know whether some of my honorable friends were ever before in a better position than that in which they find themselves now with a salary of £400a year, a club room, meals at reasonable prices, free postage and telegrams, and other privileges?
– The honorable senator has told us that he has sacrificed & great deal.
– I have sacrificed something, because I have been a hard worker all my life for ten, twelve, and fourteen hours a day. The other members of my firm are also hard workers, and it. was my own proposal that when I entered the Federal Parliament I should pay in half of my salary to the firm. I think this a most improper proposal in view of the fact that we have just come from the constituencies, when we neglected to place the matter before the electors. I am told that some honorable senators did so, but I did not, and I never read a speech by any other honorable senator in which the matter was referred to. I believe that it was entirely forgotten by those who were members of previous Federal Parliaments, and, so far as I know, not a single voice was raised at the last election in favour of increasing the salaries of Federal members. But if we did not take the voice of the electors at the time of the general election, . we certainly have it now. From what we have seen in the press, and from the fact of a great meeting having been called for this evening in the Melbourne Town Hall, we know that there is tremendous opposition in all parts of the Commonwealth to the business in which we are now engaged. It would have been a very good move on the part of the Vice-President of the Executive Council to have adjourned this debate until to-morrow, in order that some honorable senators who are supporting the Bill might attend the meeting being held in the Melbourne Town Hall, and tell the electors why they believe in it.
– We are not going to be bullied by Melbourne.
– It is not Melbourne, or a twentieth part of Melbourne.
– If honorable senators believe that they have a good case, why should not two or three of them go on the platform and tell the electors in the Melbourne Town Hall the reasons which induce them to vote for the proposed increase ?
– I do not hold myself responsible to the electors of Melbourne.
– I regard that meeting as furnishing an expressioni of the opinion of the electors.
– Of Melbourne.
– In all the States objections are being made to increasing the salaries of Members of Parliament without consultation with the electors.
– We are not to be dominated by meetings held in Melbourne.
– I, at any rate, shall have to, vote against the Bill. Every honorable senator is the best judge of his own affairs. But supposing a senator has to live in Melbourne while Parliament is sitting, still, it has to be remembered that Parliament does not sit more than six months in the year, and when a senator has paid his expenses in Melbournehe probably has £300 left to cover his expenses during the rest of the year. I hope the time is coming when we shall have shorter sessions. The matter is entirely within our own control. There is no reason why we should not finish our business in three months.
– The honorable sena tor is one of the greatest sinners in prolonging our sittings.
– I am not aware that I have spoken for more than an hour at a time. I have, however, said on previous occasions that our Standing Oxders ought to be more rigid, and that the speeches of honorable senators should be limited. If the Bill is read a second time, and gets into Committee, I shall vote for any amendment that is proposed confining the application of the measure to the next Parliament; and if any honorable senator moves for a referendum I shall feel inclined to vote for that also. I have no liking for the referendum, generally speaking. The people have recognised that, as a mass, they cannot take charge of their own political affairs, and therefore they have appointed Houses of Parliament to conduct their business for them. When we are faced with a knotty question, which we do not know how to settle, some one generally suggests the taking of a referendum. But the public are hardly competent to settle complicated questions as well as are their professional representatives. This question, however, is in an entirely different position. It is a question between our pockets and the people who sent us here. It is therefore the one question which- might be settled by means of a” referendum. I, however, would rather see the whole matter postponed until it can be submitted to the electors at the next election. I have said, and I repeat, that within two or three years, or less, we shall have a Government chosen in the Commonwealth to cut down expenses in every direction. If we have one or two consecutive droughts or bad seasons, and the people feel the full effects of a prohibitive Tariff, which will cut down revenue, I believe that a time of stress will come, and that then every honorable senator will be in favour of strict economy. We : shall be compelled to put our house in order, and to retrench in some of the Departments which we have raised on rather extravagant lines. Some honorable senators may say, “ What is £20,000?” It is not the amount, it is the principle that I am concerned about. Unless we are prepared to go slow, arid reduce expenditure, what is the use of our professing economy? Who will believe our professions while . we raise our own salaries by 50 per “cent. ? I have heard no single argument in favour of this Bill, unless we are going to take a leap suck as Senator Millen advocated, when he said! that oursalaries should be paid on a professional scale. That means that, sup? posing a man is making £1,500 a year in his profession, and he gives it up to become a member of the Federal Parliament, he should have an equivalent salary here. No country in the world has adopted that system.
– Senator Miller never said anything of the sort.
– Senator Millen said that we ought to be paid a salary for our services, and that that salary ought to be sufficient to attract the brightest intellectsin the Commonwealth. Well, if we are to attract the brightest intellects, I presume we shall have to pay them£1,000 a year each, at least. No nation in the world has, as yet, done that.
– What about the United States?
– Where mem- ‘ bers of Congress are paid £1,600 a year and allowances.
– Considering the colossal fortunes that are made in the United States, the incomes- of millionairesand the salaries that are earned in other directions, I should say that £1,000 a year to am American was far less than> £400 a year to an Australian. Every country that has adopted payment of members is guided by the fact that the allowance ought to have some relation to the expenses. I agree with what Senator Millen said that the principle of payment of members was inaugurated in order that , all classes of the community might be represented ini Parliament. It is perfectly certain that the rich and well-to-do squatter does not require a parliamentary salary. The rich and well-to-do merchant, trader or professional man does not want it either. But it is equally certain that the skilled mechanic, the labourer, the clerk, or the small shopkeeper, who is returned to Parliament to represent a class of the community does require a parliamentary salary… Otherwise such classes cannot be represented at all. Therefore, we have all beenconverted to the principle of payment of members. But if’ skilled mechanics cannot live on £400 a year, I should like them totell their Socialist friends what they consider to be a fair salary to live upon. For these reasons, I shall oppose the Bill.
– By way of personal explanation, Mr. President, I desire to say that I understand that the previous speaker has affirmed directly, or indirectly, that I spoke in advocacy of a parliamentary salary of £1,500 a year. If that is the impression to be drawn from the honorable senator’s words, he was absolutely incorrect.
Senator PEARCE (Western’ Australia) £8.9,]. - As one of those unfortunate individuals who are declared by a clause in >this Bill to be’ exempt from its provisions, I am free to speak about it unreservedly. As Senator Millen pointed ‘ out, the sum fixed in the Constitution is not like a law of the Medes and Persians, and unalterable. We are at liberty to deal with it after, the experience we have had of sixyears in this Parliament, and to say whether we consider that the amount fixed by the Constitution is sufficient or insuffici’ent. We can look at the question entirely apart from’ any party aspect. Speaking for myself, I apply my own experience to the. question, with which, we are dealing. I do not desire to intrude my personal affairs upon honorable senators, but I think that, in justice to ourselves the public ought to know the actual position in which some members of this Parliament have been placed, and what has been our experience of a parliamentary salary of £400 a year. At the time when I was selected as a Labour candidate for’ the Federal Parliament, I was a working carpenter - one of the class to which- Senator Dobson has just (referred. I was a foreman in a joiner’s shop, and I was not getting anything like £400 a year. I did not live any better then than I do now, nor do I live any better now than I did then. But as the result of some years at my “trade, I was in a position to save enough to enable me to become the owner of my own cottage and the furniture which it contained, and to have a little in the bank as well.
– To become a capitalist, in fact?
– I was in a small way becoming a capitalist, although I was not, as I have said, getting anything like £400 a year. But the glamour of politics captured me, and my ambition led me to accept the choice of my fellow-workers, and to seek election to. the Federal Parliament. Since the establishment’ of the Commonwealth, therefore, I have been a member’ of this Parliament with a salary of £400 a year. I have had” six. years’ experience of it. I have lived no more extravagantly as a member of this Parliament than I did when I was’ a working carpenter. There are plenty of honorable senators who1 know that to be true. But 1 have endeavoured, to demy duty to the electors who sent me here; I have endeavoured to attend al’ the sittings of’ the Parliament, and’ to bepresent every day of every session. The attention- which I have felt compelled to devote to my parliamentary duties has forced me to divorce myself entirely from any business aspirations which . I might have had, and has deprived me of any possibility of earning money in any other way, as I might have been able to do had I remained at my trade. Furthermore, during the recesses I have deemed it to be my duty to. travel over the vast State which I represent, and to render an account to my constituents of the work which I have been doing in Parliament. That is a piece of work which we senators from distant States have to do, and of which the Victorian representatives know nothing. ‘When a senator from a distant State like mine visits’ his constituents during the recess he is practically treated as if he were a Minister of the Crown. That is to say, he has deputations coming to him on matters of public business. Some of- them are concerned with postal requirements; others with other matters of public concern. Since I entered the Federal Parliament, every recess has been spent by me in that fashion. Has it cost me nothing to do that work? Is it to be supposed that my railway pass represents the whole cost of such journeys over hundreds of miles in the interior of Western Australia? Do honorable senators realize - I know that the public do not, especially those in Melbourne, because they know nothing about the conditions in a State like Western Australia - what it’ means to travel under such conditions? A man cannot travel, in Western Australia, visiting distant parts of the State, for less than 30s. a day. Every meal that he has will cost him 3s., and he will have to pay is. for a drink, if he has one. Does any one suppose that our railway pass covers even a, small portion of the distance over which we have to travel in such a State? When one leaves the railway line, one has to travel by coach ; and when it is realized that horse feed has to be carried in some cases hundreds of miles, it will be gathered that coach fares in the interior of Western Australia are a very heavy item indeed. It is impossible for a senator to do his duty to his constituency unless he visits the people whom he represents, and becomes acquainted with their requirements from personal knowledge of them. Consequently, a senator who does his duty in the recess will find that his expense.s then are even higher than they are when he is attending the sittings of Parliament. Certainly, that has been the case with myself. I always find that during the recess in Western Australia it costs me more to live than it does when Parliament is sitting. .1 found myself at the end of six years - in what position? At the end of six years, without having had to fight an election, I found that I was poorer than I was when I entered Parliament. I can prove that statement, to the satisfaction of any one by the production of my bank book. I had had no loss or special sickness in my family. I had merely expended my money in doing what I conceived to be my duty to my constituents. In view of those circumstances, do honorable senators wonder that when an. opportunity is given to me I shall vote for an increase which will enable a man, who was a working carpenter before, to live as well when he is sent here by his constituents as he was able to live when he worked at the bench ? That is my case for increasing the allowance. Judging from my experience, my expectation is that- on an allowance of £600 a year a Member of Parliament will not be very much better off than he was when he was following his former occupation The case of a working carpenter is not an average case, because there are many members of Parliament who were in a better position, and have made sacrifices in a different fashion. Now let us look at the other side of the picture. Take the case of the last general election in Western Australia. I know from actual knowledge that the opponents of our party had the greatest possible difficulty in finding candidates, not because they feared our political strength, but because they could not get suitable men to make the necessary sacrifices to come here. One man who was deemed to be a most desirable candidate was asked at a very early stage to come out in opposition to myself and my colleagues. What reply did he give? Speaking with a large experience in State politics, he said : “ I am willing- to stand on one condition, and that is that you bring me a bond, signed by suitable guarantors, to supply me with £400 a year in addition to the parliamentary allowance, but not otherwise.” Do honorable senators remember what hap- pened here in the first Parliament? The representatives of Western Australia in the Senate included two lawyers, one of them, being the most brilliant orator who has ever entered the Chamber, and both of them being much about the average in intellect, and worthy representatives of any State. Before the’ first Parliament had run its term, those men had to resign. Why ? Had they lost their ambition ? No, they were still as ambitious as ever. Had they lost their desire to serve their country? No. They had to resign simply because they had found it . absolutely impossible to retain their practice. In less than three years it had gone to the winds, and they had found it impossible to live on £400 a year. Each of course had a wife and a family to maintain. They returned to their chambers, and within two years they were earning- considerably more than they were receiving when in the Senate, combined with their professional income. That is the position for the other side. In the interests df the nation itself, is that desirable ? Look at the question from whatever point of view we may, is it desirable that a man in the most ordinary avocation should be required to make a sacrifice on entering Parliament? I ask Senator Dobson to remember that a working man who enters Parliament makes as much sacrifice as does any other man. What is the position of a working man, especially a tradesman, who is. elected? Take my case. For six years I was away from my trade. Do honorable senators realize how mechanical trades alter in that period? A man who, at the end of six years, has to return to his. trade, really has, as it were, a millstone around his neck. He has dropped out of the running, and has to re-start at a manifest disadvantage. What would have been my case if I had had to re-start? I should have thrown away six years of the. best portion of my life, and had to struggle at great disadvantage to work my way back to the front rank. It must also be remembered that nothing more unfits a man for that kind of life than does a political career. Therefore, a working man who enters Parliament makes a great sacrifice. Is there anything so uncertain as a political career ? Men who apparently were as certain of reelection to this Chamber as any one could be, are absent to-day, because they were rejected at the poll. They have had to stait life afresh with “all the disadvantagesthat have accrued from having devoted many years to political life. It is almost impossible for a working man who loses His seat to pick up the broken threads, and resume his ordinary occupation. It is alleged that there is an outcry against the Bill. Many of those who are condemning the proposed increase know nothing of the conditions which I Have been setting forth. I contend that many of these persons, especially in Melbourne, have not the slightest idea of the conditions prevailing in the far distant States. They have no idea of the cost of travelling, or the incidental expenses which Members of Parliament must face. On the other hand, one section of the press in this city has conducted an agitation which I do not hesitate for a moment to assert is done with the deliberate purpose of diverting the attention of the people from the Tariff resolutions in the other. Chamber. Is it not a fact that some weeks ago that newspaper published a statement, that it was the intention to increase the parliamentary allowance? From that time until the Tariff was introduced it mentioned the subject several times, but never on one occasion did it attack the proposal, or object to it. That was the time for the newspaper to protest, but that was not deemed advisable because the Tariff had not been introduced. I believe that much of the noise has been created for the sake of drawing a red herring across the trail. I recognise that in some- State Parliaments there may be a feeling of dissatisfaction with the higher salaries which are paid to the members of this Parliament. But I venture to say that in many a State Parliament an even better case may be made out for an increase of the allowance than can be made out here. In the Parliament of Western Australia the members are most miserably paid. One cannot meet a man in the street who will not make that admission, but we do not hear an outcry in favour of raising the salary. No newspaper gets out scare-headlines to point out that the members are being miserably paid. It points this lesson, that, unless the members of a Parliament take the initiative, the generous public and the generous press will not come to their assistance.
– I thought that there was no sweating over there.
– In the State Parliament there is, because its members are about the worst paid class in the community.
– What do they get? Senator PEARCE. - Two hundred pounds a year. For a miner to go to Perth to fulfil the duties of a member of Parliament is to blackleg on his union rate. I think I have said all that is necessary to justify my support of the Bill. At the last general election I was asked whether, in the event of an increase of the allowance being proposed, I would vote for it, and I replied, “ Most certainly I should.” I intend to carry out that intention.
.- In discussing the Bill I am not altogether a free agent, because, at the last general election, I was asked whether I would support an increase of the parliamentary allowance, and I said that I would not unless it had first been approved by the people. I am bound by the pledge I then gave to vote against the Bill to-night. The speeches of Senators Millen and Pearce have, no ‘doubt, been very educational. They have let in a lot of daylight on the position of Members of Parliament, and, if properly reported, they will provide the public with some food for reflection when they are thinking of this proposal. But it seems to me that much of that which Senator Pearce has said should be considered by a man when he seeks a political position. Throughout the debate there has been a general concensus of opinion that the salary of Members of Parliament is too low. With the exception of Senator Cameron and, I think, Senator Dobson, every honorable senator who has spoken has admitted that the allowance is not sufficient to reimburse him for the loss which he sustains and the time which he gives towards the service of the country. That is not the point which appeals to me. If I were going to the country again I should, support the proposed increase, but. the crux of the question to me is that the allowance is being increased without the consent of the people having been first obtained. I think that the passing of the Bill will not add to the morale of the Senate. It will not increase the respect in which the Senate is held by the public. In my opinion, the Senate, consisting as it does of only thirty-six members, ought to set a very high example, and try to maintain a high platform. The passing of the Bill will, I think, damage the Chamber in public estimation. While the indignation that has been expressed at this Bill is confined mainly to Victoria, so far as we know, it must be- remembered that it has been rushed upon the Parliament* and that the people int distant parts have not yet got a full understanding of the proposal.
My own opinion is that throughout Australia there will be a general feeling of condemnation, not so much at the increase, which many persons will admit is deserved, but at the manner . in which it has been secured. This is a delicate question. We are all personally interested, and in the circumstances it is difficult to come to a right judgment. I hold that the question to-night is not, Are we going to vote ourselves an extra ‘sum of £200? but, Are we going to vote that money without the people being allowed an opportunity to say whether it ought to be voted or not ? Do we trust the people? If we are prepared to trust them, why not let them have a voice in the determination of this matter? The way in which this question was introduced without a preliminary intimation, and the way in which it was carefully avoided’ at the last general election, indicate a very strong distrust of the people.
– Was not the honorable senator asked, at the last elections, whether he was in favour of an increase ?
– I was.
– Did not the honorable senator say that he would not vote for an increase?
– I said I would not vote for an increase unless the people first approved of it.
– Then that shows that the question was before the electors.
– In one particular case it was, but did the Government include the proposal in their programme? Suppose that we felt certain that the people would not approve of . the proposed increase, should we be justified in. voting it to ourselves? We ought to hesitate before we sanction the . increase. The Senate claims to be a democratic House, and the party which is most strongly in favour of the Bill claims to. be the only democratic party, but they are afraid to wait until the people can speak on the subject. At the last general election they were afraid to make this subjeGt one of their planks. The very party which ought to trust the people are showing their distrust by supporting the Bill. The position, as put by Senators Millen and Pearce, is not a new one. It was quite as acute last year as it is now ; in fact, it was more acute in the first Parliament than it has been in this Parliament, because the first session lasted for . about eighteen months. If there was a justification for increasing the allowance that was the time for honorable sena.tors to have brought forwarda proposal. If there was any justification for the increase the Government themselves should have put it in their programme in justiceand honesty, and from a sense of fair dealing with members. It was left tobe brought in ostensibly as a private measure by a member of the Government. I doubt whether the real motive for its intror duction has been put forward - whether it was so much the financial exigencies of members as the political exigencies of theGovernment. I am very much inclined to believe that it was the latter, because the financial exigencies of members were moresevere two or three years! ago than they aretoday. As Senator Pearce . told us to-night,, some of the brightest . men in the Senate at that time had to leave it because they coulcl not afford to stay in it. When the Constitution Bill was before the people, they weretold, on any question that was vague, . totrust the Federal Parliament. It wasurged that they would beperfectly safe in doing so, but I am afraid the people wilt think now that they are not quite so safe with the Federal Parliament. In any case we are not putting the same faith and confidence in the people as the people placed in us. They accepted the Constitution! with section 48 in it providing that £400 a. year should be paid. It is true that power was left to the Parliament to alter the salary. They, never dreamed, however,, that it was going . to be altered in. this way by a Bill sprung on the Parliament without any previous notice. The previous increase of Ministers’ salaries by the addition of the £400 a year which they claimed as . members was also sprung on the Parliament in the same fashion, when a number of members who opposed it were away. Had it.not been for a feeling of loyalty to the Government, many members would have opposed! it much more strongly than they did. We ought to give the people a chance to say whether this money should be paid or not. Ido not mean by a referendum, or by holding the Bill over until the next Parliament is elected, but what we ought todo, if we trust the people, and if we believe that we are advocating an honest cause is this: We should provide, if the Bill is to pass, that the increase of £200 a year to each member should remain in the Treasuryand not be drawn ; that for the remainder of the life of this Parliament members should continue to draw their (£460 a year, and that the payment of the increase should be withheld until after the new Parliament is elected. Then when Parliament met, a motion could be brought forward in each. House authorizing its payment, and if that was carried the money could be paid to the members of this Parliament whether re-elected or not. The people would then be dealt with fairly, and so would members if they trust- the people. By that means the people would have .ratified the increase. I believe they will do so, but they will not be more inclined to do so by our showing a distrust of them in passing the Bill im this way to-night. If we trust them, and put our case to them, I believe they will willingly pass the full amount. Members will be showing their honesty and bona -fides by leaving the matter in the people’s hands. I ha,y.e. been in politics for nearly ‘ twenty-two years, and I have never addressed myself to a subject with so much pain _ as :I have to-night, because we are not acting fairly and cleanly by the people. If the Bill passes its second reading, as I have no doubt it will, I shall endeavour to move an amendment, if no one else moves it, with the object of bringing about the arrangement which I have indicated, by which the extra money shall not be drawn, but left to the arbitrament of the people at the next general election.
– I do not intend to deal at any ‘length with this proposal, but it is. necessary for me to give my views, particularly as there is a very big shriek going on in Victoria about it. I am very doubtful whether the Victorian people, or even any large section of them, are behind the outcry. T am not altogether a lover of the Bill in its present form, but I have a great deal of sympathy for the representatives of other States. They have certainly made out a very just claim for fairer consideration from the ^Commonwealth. We are in rather a unique position, as I believe I am correct in sayang that the numbers are up. With that knowledge, I do not desire, simply because I happen, as a representative of Victoria, ;to be in a far better position than. the representatives of other States, to. play the virtuous part .of decrying a thing which I .know I am going to participate in. later on. I am. £200 per .year better off under present circumstances than the Western Australian or Queensland .senators, and £100 ^better off than a senator from Tasmania, New South Wales, or South Australia. I am in favour of bringing about, as far as possible, an equality of the salaries of honorable senators, either by giving an allowance according to the distance they live from the Seat of Government, or by moving an amendment, to give to those who are very anxious, to be virtuous, but who will not be consistent in accepting the extra payment, an opportunity of being consistent. It is my intention, at a later stage, to move an amendment or amendments to provide that the salary of Western Australian - and Queensland members of this Parliament shall be £600 a year, of those from Tasmania, South Australia, and New South Wales £500, and of Victorian representatives £400. That, I believe, would bring about an equality of salaries. I hope my Victorian colleagues and other honorable senators will support the amendment when it is proposed.
– I do not propose to give a silent vote on this question, nor to speak at any length. Senator Dobson expressed the opinion that we should be establishing a dangerous, precedent if we passed the Bill in this form. That is a very ‘ important point upon which I most distinctly join issue with the honorable senator. The Constitution contains various sections, ‘some of which can only be altered at a referendum of the people, whilst others are laws laid down to be followed until the Parliament otherwise provides. Not only is this a section which is to be the law until Parliament otherwise provides, but it occurs with four other sections dealing with that particular class of questions. If we admit that it must not be dealt with until a referendum of the people has been taken, then we take up the attitude that the other three or four sections in the Constitution, which contain the words “Until . Parliament’ otherwise provides,” should be dealt with in the same way. Although the section provides that the allowance to Members of Parliament shall be £400 a year until Parliament otherwise provides, what has happened? Parliament in its wisdom or otherwise - I- do not- propose to ‘reflect- upon Parliament in any way - has already passed a law which prevents any candidate for Parliament or any member going up for reelection from getting any assistance in the way of payment towards his election’ expenses. Consequently what -is practically a tax is put upon a member’s allowance, and (-fiat really- means that his allowance is reduced by a certain amount. If we are going to adhere to the strict letter of the law, that in itself is an infringement of the section. Parliament has done more. According to section 34 of the Constitution, the qualification for any candidate for a seat in Parliament is that hie shall be enrolled as a voter for the House of Representatives, but the section contains the words “ Until Parliament otherwise provides.” Parliament has stepped in and directed that if a man is a member of a State Parliament - if he is trusted, by the people, and is not a political deadbeat or nonentity - he cannot be nominated for a seat in this Parliament unless he first resigns his seat in the State Parliament. That was a distinct case of restricting the people’s choice. If that could be done simply because the Constitution said “Until Parliament otherwise provides,” then Parliament has a perfect right to carry out the clear intention of the Constitution in this case, with regard to the allowances df members. That intention can be judged, not only by the wording of the section, but also by the action of Parliament in the past.
– There is a similar condition in section 28 of the Constitution.
– I am aware that there are other sections. I made a note of half-a-dozen which contain the same proviso as section 48. If we are to adopt the attitude that we must refer, the matter to the people wherever there is a section in the Constitution containing the words “Until Parliament otherwise provides,” then we shall practically hang up nearly, one-third of the legislation remitted to us by the Constitution. Assuming that the question of precedent or legality can be put on one side, the only other question -worthy of consideration is whether the thing is right and proper to do, and whether this is the proper time to do it. If it is the proper thing to do, every honorable senator will admit that this is an -opportune time to do it. If a thing is fair, just, and honorable, it should be done at once. ‘There is no necessity to put it off :for three or four years, as some honorable senators wish, until possibly in a battle between free-trade and protection at a ^general election the subject will never be discussed or thought of. . Is it the right thing to do? I am not going to say that I have discovered as a member of .Parliament that I cannot pay my way with an allowance of £400 a year. I am not going to bemoan my fate, although 1 will admit frankly and honestly that if it had not been represented to me before ever I became a candidate for Parliament that this Bill was likely to be brought forward and carried with, the consent of the people of Australia2 I should never have been a candidate for theSenate. I look at the matter, not from my own view, but from an aspect which has only been touched upon by Senator Pearce. I mean the point of view of our constituents. Letters have appeared in the daily papers published in and about Melbourne-, one from a “ Mother of Nine,” another from ” Duke fro patria,” and others from persons who are perfectly certain that members of Parliament ought not to be paid anything at all, or that if they are paid anything it should be ten years hence. In spite of the columns of virulent abuse and of charges against the members of thisParliament, amounting practically to corruption, I decline to be bound by the bullying of any Melbourne newspaper,, or any Melbourne public meeting. When I was standing in Queensland for the Senate, I told the electors that I should, so far as possible, represent the people of Queens^ land in Melbourne. I propose to give my vote on this question as a representative of Queensland, and not as the toady or lickspittle of any Melbourne newspaper. I have looked up the Queensland newspaperson the subject. The weekly or tri- weekly papers say nothing at all about it. Of the eight or ten big daily newspapers which I consulted, only four alluded to it. With one exception, they say that if the present is ari opportune or proper time to bring the question forward, Queensland and Western Australian members should be paid more as compared with Victorian or other members than they are at present. That is the only suggestion of hostility tc* the proposal which I find in the Queensland press. What is really the position inQueensland in connexion with this matter? At the last election - and honorable senators of the Labour Party will bear me out in the statement - one of the complaints brought against retiring Queensland senators was that they had not visited that State sufficiently often. We have been told by some sections of the press that all that a member of this Parliament has to do isto draw his .£400 and attend the sittingsof Parliament during a certain number of months. That is the very least he has to- do. I was glad to hear the matter referred1 to by , an honorable senator of another State, because I intended to touch upon it myself, and I say that the real work which a member of this Parliament has to do is to- travel through his State in order that he may keep in touch with his constituents. He cannot do so if he remains in Melbourne and becomes a Melbourne man, subject to the Age and the Argus, and not to the public opinion of the people of his own State. I made a calculation before I left Queensland, and I have since seen no-reason to doubt its accuracy. I reckon that it will be necessary for me every year to travel for at least two months, going day and night, in order to keep in touch, not with the metropolis of Queensland, but with the principal business and industrial centres of that State. I believe that every other representative of Queensland in the Senate will find it necessary to do the same. I am not saying that it is- unfair that I should have to bear the expense of such a tour of. the State, but that if a member of the Senate has to face serious loss in that way, there is a danger that he will remain in Melbourne, and will not travel over the State which he represents. Then who will suffer ? It is not the member of the Senate who remains in Melbourne, or, in the case of a Queensland senator, who makes his residence in Brisbane and stays there. The people who will suffer are his constituents, who will be unable to make their requirements known to him except through the very unsatisfactory channel of the Post Office.” I am absolutely unpledged in connexion with this Bill. I was never asked a question concerning it on any platform. I take it as significant that whilst questions “ were at various times put to other candidates seeking election in Queensland, I was asked no question on the subject. I hold myself free to vote, in whatever way I please. But in deciding the question, as I have indicated before, I shall consider it from the point of view of the people who have sent me here to represent them. If I am unable to travel over some 1,500 miles of coastline, across the Gulf country, and over the enormous areas of country of which Queensland is comprised, what chance will the people of that State have to make their voices heard and their wishes and aspirations known in the Federal Parliament through me? It is in the’ interests of the people of the State I represent that I shall vote for the Bill, and I shall do so in defiance of the bullying that has been going on in Melbourne of late.
.- Before the question goes to a vote, I should like to say a few words. “ When this measure was introduced in another place, it was intimated that it was a non-party measure. After it had been briefly dis.dussed the Government, encouraged probably by the support it received, consented to make it a Government measure. The leader of the Government in the Senate has told us that the Government now shoulder the responsibility in connexion with it, and that they have been encouraged to go on with it by the views expressed and the support promised by the leaders of the different parties in both branches of the Federal Legislature. I have no doubt that the statements made in this regard are absolutely correct. However, Senator McGregor, as the leader in the Senate of the party to which I belong., is aware that no opinion or view expressed by him can in any way commit me to support this Bill. The question is not a plank in the platform of the Labour Party, and every member of that party is free to act in connexion with it as he thinks fit. I know that the Bill will be carried, and that with the exception probably of only one other honorable senator of the Labour Party, I shall be the only member of that party found voting in opposition to it. But I feel that there- is a very important principle involved. During the time I have, in my humble way, been identified with the labour movement, I have believed absolutely in the principle of trusting the people. Trust the people, and they will trust you. Distrust the people, and they will lose confidence in you. In view of the fact that the new Tariff has increased the price of commodities, generally, and of the necessaries of life, and in- view of the agitation which, has been started, it may be by selfinterested persons, in connexion with this; matter, it is said that if this measure were” submitted to the people to-morrow by a referendum the great majority would be found to be opposed to it.
– I do not believe that they would.
S’enator FINDLEY. - Whether they would or would not, I say that if the people do wrong to-day, they will tomorrow right the wrong. I am not influenced by any newspaper criticism, or by any public agitation. But the members of the party to which I belong are aware that when I was approached in connexion with the proposed increase of these allowances, I stated the views I held in connexion with the proposal, and how’ my vote would be recorded. I recognise that, as” a Victorian senator, I am placed in a more advantageous position than are honorable senators coming from distant- States, but I am not here to argue whether the remuneration paid to members of. this Parliament is or is not adequate. I recognise that Senators. Millen, Pearce, and . Chataway have each made out a splendid case in support of the proposed increased allowance, but there is a time and a place for ali things. If the arguments used by the honorable senators to whom I have referred were placed before the electors of the Commonwealth, I have sufficient confidence in their sense of justice ‘to believe that they would admit that in some cases, if not in all, the proposed increased allowance is justifiable. It is because the people have not been consulted that they are resenting this proposal, arid I feel sure that on the first available opportunity they will make themselves felt and heard in connexion with it. There- is a right and a wrong course to pursue. Are we pursuing the right course ? I believe that I should be pursuing the wrong course if I voted for the Bill, and I shall tell honorable senators why. When 1 was seeking the support of the electors of Victoria, I was never asked at any meeting whether I was -in- favour of or against a proposal to increase the allowance fixed by the Constitution. I venture to assert that no candidate seeking the suffrages of the- people at the last general election seriously discussed this question at any public meeting.
– The honorable senator is wrong in my case.
– And in a number of other cases.
– In my opinion -the question– was never seriously discussed from the Commonwealth point of view. If the Government are- in earnest in connexion with the matter they must realize that they have chosen a most inopportune time to bring this proposal forward. They had an opportunity to raise the question at the time of . the general election, when the issue would not have been confused by the introduction of a number of other important questions. It is probable that the Tariff will be a very prominent question at the next election. But whether this is made a prominent question or not,
I am satisfied that the course taken by the Government in connexion with it is not to their credit. Senator McColl mentioned that during the last election he was asked whether he was in favour of or opposed to the proposal. Speaking in a general way, I do not believe that the people of Victoria have ever seriously considered the proposal now under discussion in the Senate. And I. believe’ it will be found that the. general feeling of the Victorian people in connexion with this matter will be a good indication of the feeling of the people of the other. States. . I repeat that I believe that if the. matter were placed before these electors in the way in which it has been dealt with by the honorable senators to whom- 1 have, referred, -they would be in favour of an increased allowance to members representing distant States who are at a disadvantage, owing to having to keep up two homes, as compared with Victorian members. But as the people have never been consulted they are naturally resenting this, proposal, and if it is carried, it .will not, redound ‘to the credit of those who support the Bill. I do not intend to prolong the discussion. I have given my reasons why I shall, oppose the Bill. I. know that there is a majority in favour of it. Should any amendment be submitted in Committee with the object of delaying the. operation of the measure until the people have had an opportunity of expressing their opinion upon it, it will have my support.
– I do not wish to prolong an already lengthy debate further than is necessary to direct attention to the strange quarters from which the earliest opposition to this measure has proceeded. The first note of resentment against such a proposal which was heard in Western Australia came from the” Chamber of Mines of that State, a body that has used its best efforts in the past, though unsuccessfully, I am glad to say, to bring about a reduction of wages in the farnorthern districts of the gold-fields of the State. I flatly refuse to believe that the Western Australian Chamber of Mines is entitled to speak on behalf of the people of that State.- We have also had a statement from the Premier of the State, and let me say that that gentleman must have been very hard up for something, to say . when he took it upon himself to condemn this measure. Who is op- posing the measure in this State?
I venture to assert that if the elements of the opposition to this measure were analyzed it would be found that it comes .mainly from the employers’ class, or was instigated by the agencies of employers, and by anti-Federal agencies, such as can be easily .mustered or commandeered for the purpose. There are other places in Australia the views of which have to be considered than this corner called Melbourne. I feel certain that the people of Australia generally are quite willing that their legislators shall receive ample reward for the services they perform. I direct attention to the power that is vested in the Commonwealth Parliament in reference to this matter. In section 48 of the Constitution, it is expressly laid down in language that cannot be misunderstood that this. Parliament, and this Parliament alone, has exclusive power in reference to fixing the remuneration_of its members. I i ail to see, therefore, that there is any necessity for submitting the question to a referendum. When the .Constitution was submitted to the people for their approval, almost every section in it was hotly debated by the people from north, to south and from east to west. But this section was never referred to, either for or against, by any body of the electors, so far as I know. The construction which we are justified .in placing upon their indifference to the section is that they were simply desirous that their representatives in Parliament should be reasonably rewarded for their services. Personally I should like to see a return to the good old times when. Cincinattus used to leave his plough and .attend to the affairs of State. But, unfortunately, that state of things can never .return. We have no Cincinattus nowadays, unless indeed he is reincarnated in the person of .Senator Dobson, and comes from the island State of Tasmania. The trend of public feeling all the world over is in the direction of ample payment for services rendered. It is a peculiar .thing, however, that when a service to the public is rendered, people are inclined to be very delicate about it, and to lea.ve it .to the . other party to say what the reward shall be. Senator Pearce has shown that in the case of the members of this Parliament who represent distant States, the reward has been totally inadequate. I notice that in the press in this city reference has been made to what is called the indecent haste with which, this measure was pushed through the other branch of the Legislature. Some people are fond of. looking for precedents in connexion with public matters. Senator McColl, for instance, usually looks to the Dominion of Canada, for precedents. I direct his attention to what took place in :Canada some time ago. Canada was confronted with the same problem as confronts Australia, now - namely, what .reward should .be paid to her legislators. The question was dealt with in 1905, and I will show how it was settled. Senator Symon has dwelt upon the impropriety of a .Legislature taking upon itself to legislate in matters of this kind, and has urged that the Bill should have been made a Government measure. Now, . I find that in the Dominion of . Canada, in the .session of 1905, the Governor-General’s Speech at the opening contained no reference to increasing the emoluments of the members of the House of Commons and of the Senate. The session opened on the 12 th of January. The policy of the Government was outlined in .the Governor-General’s Speech, which is set forth on page 1.2 of the Parliamentary Debates^ I would .read the whole of the Canadian Governor-General’s Speech if it were necessary to satisfy honorable senators that it contains no reference to this subject. It is difficult to say whether on this occasion the Canadian Government placed its policy before the country,. but,. at any rate, not a syllable upon this subject is contained in the document. The measure increasing the emoluments of members received . the Governor-General’s assent five months later. How was it dealt with? The history of it is shown in vol. 5 of the Canadian Hansard, 10th Parliament, first session. The procedure was initiated by way of resolution, to the effect that it was desirable to increase the allowances of members of the Senate and of the House of Commons. I .find that the proceedings upon the resolution occupy two pages, and a half of Hansard,. Subsequently the matter was ‘ dealt with in a concrete shape by way of a Bill, which .was introduced into the Canadian House of Commons in July, 1905. The second .reading was moved by Mr. Fitzpatrick, the Minister of Justice. It was read. a second time on the 18th of July. Four members participated in the debate. It was read a second time, passed through ,the Committee, and read a third time all on the same day. The whole .debate occupied the small compass of six and a quarter inches ,of .the
Canadian Hansard. I have measured it with the rule which I hold in my hand. So that, in the first place, the- measure was never foreshadowed in the speech of the Canadian Governor-General, and, secondly, the Bill was disposed of in the short space of time that is represented by six and a quarter inches in the debates of the Dominion of Canada.
– What was the amount of the increase?
– The amount now paid to Canadian members of Parliament is about £^520 per annum, in addition to allowances, which include hotel expenses, a form of payment never dreamt of in the Commonwealth. I find that in 1905, a session of the Canadian Parliament occupied only three months, whilst in the latter part of the year there was another session. As the payment to Canadian members is called a sessional allowance, and two - sessions were crammed into one year, the result was, so far as I can gather, that members of the Dominion Parliament became entitled to £1,040 each for services they rendered in that year. 4
– What did they receive before the increase?
– I am not quite sure. Those facts are a sufficient answer to those who have complained that this Bill is not introduced as a Government measure, and, secondly, that it was passed through the House of Representatives in a hurried way. In Mulhall’s Dictionary of Statistics, it is stated that the wealth per inhabitant in the United Kingdom is £300, in France £240, ‘ in the United States £2 IO, in Canada £200, and in Australia £37°- So that the wealth per inhabitant in Australia is £170 more than in Canada. Australia is, therefore, better able to bear the expense than Canada was. I felt that it was desirable to place these facts on record. There was no public outcry in Canada against the increase; in fact, what was done had the sanction of the people behind it. I support this Bill with the full knowledge that, so far as concerns the State which I represent, £400 a year is a very scanty allowance compared .with what it would be if paid to a person permanently resident in one of the eastern States. Of course, no differentiation can be made between the. representatives of various States in this Parliament. If there were a distinction, it would obviate the smooth and. satisfactory working of this proposal. I support the Bill, not as an unjustifiable demand upon the public Trea sury, but as providing a proper reward for services which legislators are called upon to render to the people whom they represent.
– One would think to read the morning newspapers in this city and especially the correspondence which they have published - mostly from political derelicts and deadbeats who cannot get a seat in any Parliament, though several of them have tried and failed-that the Commonwealth of Australia was bounded on the west by Spencer-street, on the east by Springstreet, on the north by Lonsdale-street, and on the south by Flinders-street, and that it possessed the sole port of Hobson’s Bay. I ask those who “take up the position to remember that Melbourne is not the Commonwealth, and that because this subject may or may not have been mentioned here at the time of the general election, it does not follow that it was not mentioned in other portions of the Commonwealth. I can vote for the Bill with a clear conscience, because on every platform when I was a candidate over three years ago I plainly stated that I would support adequate payment to the members of any Parliament. Payment of members is the first and most essential principle of democracy, because without adequate payment the Legislature of a country will be a hot-bed and special preserve of the wealthy and privileged classes, and the general masses will have no possible chance of voicing their wishes or aspirations. I was much struck by an article in the London Magazine for February, 1906. It was written by Mr. Harold Begbie, a noted . political writer, and entitled “The Amateur Dictators of our Destiny.” He points out what occurs in that great country where there is no payment of members. He shows very conclusively that the ‘ government and the legislation are in the hands of “ the amateur dictators “ of the destiny pf Great Britain. To prove his contention, he enumerates in separate lists a representative conservative Ministry and a representative” liberal Ministry. I shall read the two lists for the information of honorable senators, and the public, to show what sort of a Government may be expected if we have no payment of members of Parliament. Mr. Harold Begbie says that a representative conservative Ministry at that time in Great Britain would’ include the following gentlemen1 -
Marquis of Salisbury, great peer and landowner ; head of ancient and wealthy aristocratic family.
Mr. A. J. Balfour, nephew of Lord Salisbury ; wealthy landowner.
Lord Halsbury, Lord Chancellor.
Duke of Devonshire,, head of the house of Cavendish; great territorial magnate.
Viscount Cross, peer, landowner, and chairman of quarter sessions.
Sir Michael Hicks Beach, baronet and landowner.
Sir Matthew White Ridley, baronet and landowner.
Mr. Chamberlain, successful manufacturer and man of business.
Marquis of Lansdowne, peer and wealthy landowner.
Lord George Hamilton, son of a duke.
Mr. Goschen, wealthy financier.
Lord Ashbourne, distinguished lawyer.
Lord Balfour of Burleigh’, head of old Scottish aristocratic family; landowner.
Lord James of Hereford, successful lawyer.
Mr. Ritchie, wealthy man of business. *
Mr. Chaplin, country squire and landowner.
Mr. Walter Long, country squire and landowner.
Mr. Akers’ Douglas, country squire and landowner.
According to Mr. Harold Begbie, a representative liberal Ministry would include the following gentlemen -
Earl of Rosebery, peer and wealthy landowner.
Earl of Kimberley, peer and wealthy landowner.
Marquis of Ripon, peer and wealthy landowner.
Lord Tweedmouth, peer and wealthy landowner.
Earl Spencer, peer and wealthy landowner.
Lord Herschell, successful lawyer.
Mr. Asquith, successful lawyer.
Sir H. Campbell Bannerman, son of a wealthy manufacturer and landowner.
Sir William Harcourt, member of ancient and aristocratic county family.
Sir George Trevelyan, baronet, and head of old county family.
Sir Henry Fowler, wealthy solicitor.
Mr. John Morley, journalist and man of letters.
Mr. Arnold Morley, son of a very wealthy manufacturer.
Mr. James Bryce, distinguished jurist and professor.
Mr. Shaw Lefevre, landowner, nephew of a peer, and connected by marriage with another noble family.
Mr. A. H. D. Acland, member of old county family.
Those lists were not compiled by a labour man, but by a noted writer, who is quoted -as an authority by both conservative and -liberal politicians in Great Britain. He shows conclusively that without payment of members the government of the country is entirely in the hands of those persons whom he describes as ‘.’ the amateur dictators of our destiny,” and who are drawn almost entirely from the wealthy land-owning classes.
– Great Britain is the greatest Empire in the world.
– Undoubtedly it is great, not because of those defects, but because the genius of the people has been strong enough to overcome them. How is it possible for the masses to be represented when we find that in a country where there is no payment of members the whole busi-ness of government and legislation is entirely dominated by individuals drawn from the wealthy,_ land-owning, and privileged classes ? Neither of the lists I read includes the names of more than two men who obtained the position of Cabinet Minister by their own unaided ability. - Social position, wealth, and family influence always counted for more than the actual capacity’ of the man to do the business which the country required of him, and that is why Mr. Begbie called them “ the amateur dictators of our destiny.” We cannot have government of the people, bv the people, and for the people - -which is the key of democracy - until we have adequate payment, because the vast majority of the people cannot afford or be expected to send men for long distances to represent them unless’ there is payment of members. No individual can afford to make the necessary sacrifice. He has to provide a living for himself, wife, and children. If he. has to give up every means of making that ‘living in order to represent his constituents, it is absolutely impossible to expect him to be able to do so unless we have a system of adequate paymerit of members. Now we come to the question of whether ?400 is an adequate payment. _ Senator Pearce put in very forcible fashion what I consider was an unanswerable argument. No one has been more careful in looking after every aspect of his affairs, or less inclined to waste money, than has the honorable senator, and yet he has had to assure us that he is a poorer man to-day than when he entered Parliament over six years ago. Living as I do about 2,500 miles from Melbourne, having to travel up and down several times in the year, and having frequently to take mv wife and children up and down, I can say that I am a considerably poorer man to-day. That, I. think, is not a position which the people of the Commonwealth require me to occupy. I believe that they are quite willing to pay a fair thing to the legislators for the work which thev have to do. I also feel that when they do pay an adequate salary they will get men to represent them who will be worthy of the salary. That is the position I take up. Senator Symon is in favour of the principle of increased payment to members of this Parliament, but he says that it ought to be referred to the people - in other words, he thinks that we ought to wait for a period of three years. Of course, those who are opposed to a reform always take up that attitude. They always say, “ The reform may be right enough, but it is premature. We ought to stave it off a little in the hope that in the meantime something may occur to prevent it.”
– Why did not the honorable senator mention thismatter in the’ last session ofthe lastParliament?
– ‘Why did not Senator Fraser mention it ?
– Because I am against it.”
– Yes; because the honorable senator knows that he is one of the privileged classes, who can afford to come here and sit for nothing, who would have this Parliament a close preserve. Let me remind him that the facts in Australia go to show clearly that, to use an Irishism, Members of Parliament were never so well paid as when there was no payment of members. They paid themselves hand over fist; they grabbed the best of the country ; corruption was rampant ; and they had their hands continually in the Public Treasury.
– That is an improper accusation for the honorable senator to make. There was never a case made out, except one, in this State.
– The history of Victoria, especially in the boom period, was strong enough to make even the most brazen-faced politician blush.
– That is a very unjustifiable accusation.
– Why, sir, in a leading article condemning this very Bill, the Age admits that corruption wasrampant in Victoria before payment of members was in vogue. Senators McColl, Findley, Symon, and one or two others, take up the attitude that this proposal ought to be referred ‘to the people. Nearly all of them say that they are in favour of the proposed increase, but that itshould not be sanctioned at the present time. I cannot understand that attitude. I can understand, and to some extent admire, the attitude taken up by Senator Cameron, who boldy says, “ I’ am opposed to the Bill because I am opposed to payment of members.” That is a straightforward statement of his position. Thehonorable senator . also wanted to refer the proposal to -the people, but he said, “ Even then I would be opposed to it.” Of course he would be opposed to it, and because he has the courage to say so. I can admire that attitude. But there are other honorable senators who adopt a cheaply virtuous attitude. They say, ‘ ‘ The Bill is going tobe carried, anyhow, but we will be cheaply virtuous. We will advocate that it should be sent to the people.” Most of them are opposed to the principle of the referendum, and it is only now, when they think it will suit their book and commend then to” a certain section of the electors, that they advocate such a course. In his special pleading, Senator Symon tied himself up in a knot, and it will take all his legal ingenuity to extricate himself. He said that the provision “ Until the Parliament otherwise provides “ was placed in the Constitution in order to avoid the trouble and expense of amending it. That,he said, was the reason why it was provided that the parliamentary allowance should be£400 a year “ until the Parliament otherwise provides.” Although he distinctly says that without the words “ Until the Parliament otherwise provides,”the Constitution would have been rigid, and that we could not have effected an alteration of the allowance without an amendment of the Constitution, yet, at the same time, he advocates that this proposal should be referred to the people. If a matter of this kind should be referred to the people, there was no reason for having an elastic Constitution. The words I quoted could have been left out of the various sections, and, necessarily, a proposal to increase the allowance must have been referred to the people. Therefore, Senator Symon is on the horns of a dilemma. Either the reason which he gave for the. use of that phrase was wrong,or his advocacy of a. referendum on the question was a mistaken attitude. Wehear a great deal about a reference to the people. I am afraid that a great misconception is likely to arise as to the proper uses and attributes of a referendum. I am afraid that Members of Parliament are sometimes inclined to shelter themselves behind the plea for a referendum just as weak Governments in former times did behind Royal Commissions, which cost a great deal of money, when they were not game enough, or did not feel themselves strong enough, to deal with a question themselves. The referendum is a matter entirely apart and distinct from the Legislature. It is a function belonging to the people, and tobe set in force by the people. In the country where it was first made use of - Switzerland - it is absolutely separate, as it ought to be, from the Legislature. It has to be set. in motion by the people themselves, and its object is to give the people a veto over bad legislation. A certain proportion of the electors have to sign a petition asking that a Bill be remitted to a referendum. If there are a sufficient number of signatures to the petition the Bill has to be submitted to the people, and, consequently, the people have the right of veto. That is the people’s remedy when the Parliament passes legislation which is not acceptable to them. In the same way the people have a right to initiate legislation which they desire and which the Parliament may be dilatory or neglectful in bringing forward. Both the initiative and the referendum are apart and distinct from the Legislature. They comprise a function belonging to the people, and not to Parliament. In every case where a referendum is provided for in our Constitution it is to be by the authority of the people to effect something which the people require. If it is proper to send this question to a referendum’, would it not also be proper to deal in the same way with the Tariff?According to the figures given in the Age to-day, in one particular weekly bill of a householder there was an increase of over a shilling as the result of the operations of the new Tariff.
– Five shillings for five members of the household.
– There was an increase of1s. on one small bill. It would be more on the bills for all the members of the household. This increased payment of members will only amount to one penny per headof the population of the Commonwealth per annum. If we must have a referendum about something which involves an expenditure of one penny per head per annum, how much more ought we to have it about a proposal which involves an extra charge of1s. per head per week ?
– It is very difficult to have a referendum on a Tariff.
SenatorGIVENS.- The honorable senator is hedging. He wants a referendum in this case, but not in the other. - Senator Stewart. - Would Senator Fraser take a referendum on a land tax?
– Would Senator Fraser be willing to agree to a referendum on the question of whether the Commonwealth should at once enforce a land tax to raise sufficient money for an adequate system of old-age pensions?
– We are discussing the Parliamentary Allowances Bill now.
– The honorable senator immediately flies off at a tangent when he is cornered. An old-age pension is a necessary provision for safeguarding the interests of our aged poor, when they are too old to help themselves or to procure their own living. The honorable senator, as he is not too much of a youth himself, ought to have a little sympathy for the other old people. I deny altogether the contention of Senator McColl and others that this proposal has been sprung on the people. That may be so as regards the people” in Melbourne, but it was one of the vital questions at every election meeting that I addressed in Queensland over three and a-half years ago. When my opponents found that I was taking a strong stand on the matter, and had announced my intention to vote for the proposal, and to support it in and out of Parliament, they always had a man rigged up to ask me a question about it if I forgot to mention it myself. I remember addressing a meeting at the Blind, Deaf and Dumb Asylum at South Brisbane. They had one of the poor old blind men rigged up to ask me a question about it.
– The deaf could not hear the honorable senator..
– Senator Sayers is perhaps unacquainted with the fact that, although the deaf cannothear, they can understand a person speaking as well as if they could hear. Does he not know that the dumb can speak how ? By watching the movement of the lips those deafand dumb people can. tell with absolute accuracy what one issaying, and can even reply inspoken words. The honorable senator seems to have been out of the world for a long time. He does not know that the world has been moving while he has been standing, still: I am quite certain that the people do not want to pay the legislators to whom they intrust the business of this great Commonwealth an inadequate sum for their services. We have to manage a huge business for the young nation which we are building up, and the interests committed to our charge are enormous. Even Senator Dobson had to admit that the net income which he gets out of the £400 a year which he is receiving is only£30 or£40 a year. Poor as Senator Dobson generally represents Tasmania to be, low down in the financial scale and needy as he frequently makes her out to be, little Tasmania has no right to expect such an enormous sacrifice from a man of -his transcendent ability. I do not believe that she will begrudge him the extra payment or have any ill-feeling against him when she pays him more adequately for the great services he performs for that little State. Tasmania has no right to expect the honorable senator to sacrifice everything for her. People outside seem to regard the total allowance of a member of this Parliament as a net income. That is altogether an erroneous impression. I was better off financially when I was earning £3 per week underground than I have been when receiving . £400 a year as a senator. I should be better off to-morrow in the same circumstances, because the amount one has to spend in travelling about the country, keeping up two homes, shifting one’s family up and down, and in a hundred and one other ways, runs away with the greater portion of the allowance. We should not be expected to work for a salary which a commercial traveller would be ashamed to look at. He would be afraid that he was “scabbing” or “ blacklegging “ upon the Commercial Travellers’ Association if he worked for anything like the miserable, paltry allowance which members of this Parliament receive. A commercial traveller getting . £300 a year as a fixed salary would get at least another £300 as travelling expenses. If Members of Parliament are to do their duty by their constituents, to travel, not only in their own States, but throughout the Commonwealth as they ought to do to make themselves acquainted with the requirements of its various parts in all their phases and aspects, the net amount left to them out of the allowance of £400 a year will be so infinitesimal that’ we should want a search warrant to find it, and even then we should not be able to get a trace of it.
Question - That this Bill be now read a second time - put. The Senate divided.
Majority …… 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 -
This Act may be cited as the Parliamentary Allowances Act 1907.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [9.45]. - I move -
That the following words be added - “ and shall not come into operation until a date to be fixed by proclamation, not earlier than sixty days after the first day of the meeting of Parliament after the next general election.”
Honorable senators will see that that puts in specific terms the view to which I addressed myself on the second reading of the Bill, and if carried will give the people of Australia, whom we represent, an opportunity to express their opinions before the Act comes into operation. The effect of the amendment will be that whilst this Bill will be an expression, in the form of an Act of Parliament, of the opinion of the Legislature that the allowance ought to be increased, an opportunity will be afforded the electors to express their opinion on the subject at the next general election, and there will be an interval of two. months after the first meeting of the new Parliament, during which, if a majority of the members of the new Parliament have been returned opposed to the increase, a motion can be moved dealing with the question without the necessity for introducing a fresh Bill. I do not intend to go over the ground already dealt with,but I wish to emphasize two points. The first is what appears to me to be the unfairness of springing this measure suddenly upon the country. I repeat that so far as I am individually concerned, I consider the allowance of . £400 a year inadequate, and I am prepared to advocate an increase at any time, but it is only fair that the people should have an opportunity of expressing their views upon the subject before we actually bring such a law into operation, and make the payment an effective one. That argument has particular force at this juncture, when, on the one hand, we propose, by means of an increased Tariff, to loadthe people with extra taxation, and, on the other, to secure to ourselves now the extra payment provided for by this Bill. There are two matters alluded to by Senator Millen to which I should like to refer. First, in connexion with the suggested referendum. I entirely agree with the honorable senator that this question is not a proper subject for a referendum at all. It would be an absurdity to submit such a question to the people by way of referendum. Honorable senators should not attach any weight to the suggestion as to the expense of a referendum because the measure is not one which should be referred to the people by that means. The amendment I have moved would have sufficient effect. The Bill, if passed, would be before the eyes of the people. Hitherto there has been no concrete proposal before Parliament dealing with this question, and it has never been before the public in the ordinary sense of the term. There has, therefore, not been an opportunity to ascertain the’ public view, or, as I prefer to put it, to derive our authority to deal with the matter from any public mandate or any abstention on the part of the public to express an opinion upon the matter when prominently brought before them. This leads me to the other point alluded to by Senator Millen - that the objection is to voting the allowance for the current three years, and not for the next three years. My objection is that it is the people who ought to give the authority for this payment. They have never been asked to do so, and therefore my honorable friend’s point, though extremely ingenious and delivered with very great skill, is practically irrelevant. We are not seeking to vote the money for this three years or for the next three years, but what we desire is that the people shall be asked to confirm what we propose. We leave it to the people to say whether the increased allowance for the next three years shall be paid. The authority to pass this measure is unquestionable. We have the power to authorize any expenditure we choose, and the only question is whether it is proper that we should do what is proposed by this Bill. It is from that point of view I submit my amendment, which, if carried, will leave the Bill as an enactment expressing the opinion of Parliament, but will give the people an opportunity to send representatives to the next Parliament who will take a different view and who will be given two months after the meeting of the next Parliament within which to suspend the operation of the Bill, if that is thewill of the people.
Question - That the words proposed to be added be added - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 -
Each senator and each member of the House of Representatives shall receive an allowance of Six hundred pounds a year.
Provided that in the case of a senator or member of the House of Representatives who holds any of the following offices, namely, Minister of State, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chairman of Committees of the Senate, or Chairman of Committees of the House of ‘Representatives, the allowance shall be Four hundred pounds a year in addition to the emoluments of his office.
.- I move -
That the following words be added - “ Provided that one-third of the allowance under this Act. shall not’ be paid to members of this Parliament until a resolution of the next Parliament shall authorize the payment. Such resolution shall be submitted to Parliament within sevendays of its meeting.”
The effect of the amendment would be that one-third of the allowance to be paid tinder the Bill to each member of the Parliament would lie in theTreasury until the people had an opportunity of expressing their opinions on the proposed payment. If, after the next election, a majority of members are returned in favour of the proposal, the resolution referred to in the amendment can be moved within seven days after the meeting of Parliament, and the money retained can then be paid to the members of the present Parliament. The difference between that and Senator Symon’s amendment is that under the latter the increased payments would only be paid to members of the next Parliament. My proposal is a compromise between the Bill and Senator Symon’s amendment, and provides that if the. people approve of our action, the members of the present Parliament will be paid the amount due to them after the next Parliament is elected.
-On a point of order, I should like to ask your ruling, sir, as to whether Senator McColl’s amendment is in order, inasmuch as it is practically the same as that moved by Senator Symon?
– I think that the amendment is not the same as that moved by Senator Symon, either in’ substance or in purport. It is, therefore, in order.
– I wish to. point out with regard to Senator McColl’s. amendment that if it were adopted, it would mean that for the next three years the members of this Parment would work without any salary whatever.
– No; they would receive£400 a year.
– That is not so, because we have just passed clause 2, which provides that the Parliamentary Allowances Act 1902, is repealed. If,therefore, we pass Senator McColl’s amendment the members of this Parliament will receive no payment whatever.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South raised a very flimsy objection to Senator McColl’s amendment. If it were adopted it would.be quite easy for the Committee to reconsider clause 2. Of course a consequential amendment would be necessary. But at the same time I think that Senator McColl’s amendment would be a very. awkward one to pass. It provides that if the Bill becomes law there shall be, so to speak, a suspension of the payment of the extra amount. . It is to be held over. That would be a very inviduous position in which to place the whole Parliament. Either the Bill should become law or it should not. I moved an amendment with a view ofpreventing its coming into operation at all. But if it does come into operation the money oughtnot to be held over for three years,as though the members of this Parliament were not fit to be trusted with it. It might as well be provided that the money should be paid over to them, but that they should give an undertaking on receiving it to hand it back if the Members of Parliament, elected at the next election, repealed this measure. I ask my honorable friend to consider whether by altering the phraseology of his amendment he might not be able to attain the same result without the inviduous position in which this amendment would place Parliament.
– I understand that Senator E. J. Russell desires to move a prior amendment, and to meet his convenience, I desire to withdraw mine. . .
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– I move -
Thatthe words “ Six hundred pounds, a year “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the wordsinthe case of Queensland and Western Australia, senators and members, Six hundred pounds ayear, in the case of. New South Wales,South Australian, and Tasmanian senators and members five hundred pounds a year, and in thecase of Victorian senators and members fourhundred pounds a year.”
I do riot thinkthat it is necessary to say anything injustification of my amendment, because what it attempts to achieve is well understood Bymost honorable senators.
– I move -
That the following words be added - “ Provided that one-third of the allowance under this Act shall not be paid to members of this Parliament until a resolution of the next Par- l iament shall authorize the payment. Suchresolution shall be submitted to Parliament within seven days of its meeting.”
With regard to Senator Symon’s suggestion, I may state that I do not think that it would be wise to allow the money to be paid away on the understanding that it should be returned if the next Parliament repealed this measure. I am afraid that the strain upon myself and others would be too great. My object in moving the amendment is that the people shall have a voice in reference to the matter.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 4 and 5 agreed to.
Clause 6 (Commencement of application of Act).
– When speaking this afternoon, I indicated that I desired to move an amendment which would have the effect of deducting a certain sum from the allowance of each member of Parliament who did not attend a certain number of sittings of either House. While I still think that that would be a perfectly fair and proper amendment to move, I now see that there are difficulties in the way, and that it would have effects contrary to what I intend. I recognise particularlythe disabilities under which the Western Australian and Queensland members of Parliament would be placed. I find that such an amendment as I have suggested would operate most unfairly to them. Often during the session they have to visit their constituencies, and may be away for a week or two at a time. I hold that a Member of Parliament who is visiting his constituents on public business is just as properly discharging his duties to the country as if he were actually present in Parliament Another difficulty is that a Victorian senator or member who lives close at hand can put in an attendance for a few minutes and retire immediately afterwards without contributing anything to the business of the country. Such an amendment as I contemplated would not affect such conduct. I thought it well before the Bill went out of Committee that I should indicate my reasons for not moving the amendment which I outlined.
Senator W. RUSSELL (South Australia [10.11]. - As Senator O’Loghlin declines to proceed with the amendment which he foreshadowed, I will take up the point. WhenI wasbef ore the electors of South
Australia, the question of salary was never mentioned, but the question of the attendances of Members ofParliament came up repeatedly. I was provided with figures to show that in another place, during the last Parliament, one member attended only on four occasions, and another only eleven times. Whether the salary paid be . £400 or £600 per annum, I think that it is the duty of Members of Parliament to be in their places. I told my constituents that, if returned, I would adopt such means as might be open to me to make it compulsory for Members of Parliament to be present, or to penalize them for their absence. It might involve a sacrifice for a number of gentlemen toattend regularly, while the salary was £400 a year, but if the amount is raised to £600, there ought to be a larger attendance both in the Senate and in another place. Since I have had at seat in the Senate, I have frequently noticed a great many seats unoccupied, sometimes for a whole week together.
– The clause under consideration deals with the commencement of the measure, and I do not think that the honorable senator will be in order in moving such an amendment as he has mentioned upon the clause.
– I took it for granted, sir, that as you allowed Senator O’Loghlin, who is an opponent of the Bill, to make his remarks on this subject, on clause 6, I should be in order in referring to it at the same stage. I feel inclined to move the amendment which he foreshadowed, in accordance with the pledges which I gave on the hustings. I hope that, if not in this Bill, some other means may be found to bring to book those who visit us only occasionally, and whom we do not see again for weeks. If there is to be payment of Members of Parliament, they should attend, otherwise they should give place to those who will.
– Will the honorable senator hand to me a copy of his amendment?
– I thought that you had a copy, but will let it go.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 7 and title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.; report adopted.
Senate adjourned at 10.17 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 21 August 1907, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1907/19070821_senate_3_38/>.