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Thursday, 20 May 1920

Mr LAVELLE (Calare) (2:35 AM) .I have listened very attentively to the arguments for and against the Bill.

Mr Higgs - There have not been any against it.

Mr LAVELLE - Well, I have listened to those supposed arguments in opposition. I have given close attention to the matter, and I can see innumerable reasons for granting an increase; but, thinking that perhaps there might be some arguments against- it, I devoted special attention to those who expressed their intention to vote against the measure. . The speeches- against the Bill that have been delivered can be separated into two distinct . sections, one of which is that the salary paid is too high, and in this category the honorable member for Darwin (Mr. Bell) and the honorable member for Corio. (Mr. Lister) have been included. They said, in effect, that they were not worth £600, and I was pleased to hear them make such an admission, because I feel satisfied that, when they go to .the country again, the electors will be able to assess them at their own value. If they are not worth £600 per annum ho good purpose would be served by returning them to this Chamber. There were also some honorable members who said that they believed that the increase was justified, because of the higher cost of living, and, although they could not submit any arguments against the proposal, they intended to oppose the Bill, because they had made certain pledges to the electors. After listening to those honorable members who believe that the increase is justified, although they were not supporting it, I wondered why they were objecting. There can1 be only one reason, and that is that they feared that if they told the truth to the electors, and said that they were entitled to the increase, the electors would not return them.

Mr Stewart - The honorable member would not include in that category new members.

Mr LAVELLE - Yes; every honorable member who stated that the increase was justified, and who would not support it, because he had made certain pledges. Why did they make such a pledge if they thought that the salary was not sufficient ? They should have had sufficient courage to express their opinion's whatever they may have been. During the campaign, the question of salary was only submitted to me on one occasion, and I stated that the salary was, in my opinion, inadequate, and that if I had an opportunity T would assist in increasing it. If some honorable members consider that the increase is merited, they must have pledged themselves not to support it because they were afraid of the consequences. I am not afraid to face the consequences of my own actions, and I do not want my constituents to believe that I was ashamed to express my opinion, or that I desired to record a silent vote. I am prepared to accept my full share of responsibility, and I am quite sure that, if the rote to-night will have any effect on the next election, as far as Calare is concerned, it will mean that my majority will be larger than ever.

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