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Thursday, 20 May 1920

Mr LISTER (Corio) (2:24 AM) .- As honorable members generally know my attitude towards the Bill, there is no need for ma to give reasons at length for opposing it. During my election direct questions were put to me as to whether it was true that there was likely to be a move to raise the salaries of members of the Federal Parliament, and I replied that I did not know that any such movement was on foot. In reply to a further question as to what would be my attitude if a motion were brought forward to increase members' salaries, I said that I would oppose any such, motion, and that I really felt more inclined to vote' for a reduction in the salaries of members of Parliament, subject to certain conditions which I laid down. Those conditions have been referred to by various speakers during this debate, and the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. Gibson), in particular, dealt with them most explicitly. I move about a good deal among my constituents, and as a result of my activities in that way I have felt that, under, the conditions now obtaining, the salary of a member of Parliament is not sufficient. Mention has been made >{ the need for differentiation between the salaries of members of Victorian constituencies and 'those of members representing constituencies in other States, but possibly it has cost me quite as much to travel about my constituency during the past three years as it has cost many honorable members living in . other States to travel. I am also obliged to keep two homes going, and I fail to see any justice in differentiating in this regard. Statements have appeared in the press regarding the time honorable members devote to their parliamentary duties, and stress has been laid over and over again on the fact that we give less than six months' service in the year in the discharge of our duties. It may be true that we are only assembled here for that period, but our duties by no means cease once we leave the precincts of this building. My busiest time has been during the recess, and it is utterly wrong for the press to endeavour to make capital out of such an argument. Were my time to be tabulated during my occupancy of my present position, I would be found to have been working, probably, close cm fourteen or fifteen hours a day. Since I have been a member of this Parliament I have had only two Saturday afternoons to myself, and again and again I have been called out of bed at 9 o'clock ou a Sunday morning to attend to the requirements of my constituents.

Mr Jowett - The honorable member is like a family doctor.

Mr LISTER - Infinitely worse, because a family doctor has privileges that a member of Parliament does not possess. It has been stated by the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. Gibson) and some other honorable members that the section of the Electoral Act which protected candidates during the recent campaign should apply to the whole of their political career, i do not stand alone in this matter. I have received many letters soliciting subscriptions, and during the recent campaign I despatched no less than forty-seven communications stating that I was precluded from contributing money prior to an election. Many wrote to me thinking that it was an opportune time to obtain financial assistance, and I remember one instance in particular, where a lady indicated that she had been deputed to approach me for a donation for a certain purpose. There was a postscript to the communication, and postscripts in ladies' letters are usually the most important portion. It was to the effect that if I subscribed a generous donation it would become known and would be of considerable advantage to m© during the approaching election. I intend to be frank in this matter, because I believe honorable members expect a man to keep his platform pledges, and I therefore intend to oppose the Bill.

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