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Thursday, 8 December 1960

Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) .- 1 compliment you, Sir, on the judicial utterances which have just fallen from your lips. If you or the holders of your position were remunerated as are persons who conduct themselves with similar eloquence and decorum under the bill which I am about to discuss, you would be vastly better looked after than you are.

This bill provides the highest emoluments provided by any statute of any Australian parliament. The Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) justified the bill on the basis that it is necessary to preserve a proper margin between the salaries of High Court judges and those of Supreme Court judges of New South Wales and Victoria. The salaries of High Court judges were last determined in 1955. In the intervening period the salaries of Chief Justices and puisne judges of the Supreme Courts of Victoria and New South Wales have been increased on three occasions. Now we find that all judges in Victoria and New South Wales receive higher salaries, in effect, than do the puisne justices of the High Court; and that the Chief Justices of Victoria and New South Wales receive only £200 or £300 less in salary than does the Chief Justice of Australia.

Mr Hasluck - Are you opposing the bill?

Mr WHITLAM - In logic, there are no arguments against the bill taken in isolation; but we are opposing it for three reasons. The first is that this bill was brought in at 2.30 a.m. yesterday. That is legislating by exhaustion and by stealth.

Mr Hasluck - Notice of it was given a long time ago.

Mr WHITLAM - Not to the Parliament. I believe a statement was made outside the Parliament some time before.

Sir Garfield Barwick - Notice was given in the House by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies).

Mr WHITLAM - If it was, I had forgotten it.

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