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Thursday, 15 July 1926

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) .- When the bill for the appointment of the Federal Capital Commission reached the -Senate, it contained a clause fixing the salaries of the commissioners; but, in committee, the Senate decided that it would be better to give the Government a free hand to select the best men available, and for that reason the provision for a definite salary was omitted. The Government, to use an expression which has been used in this debate, was given a blank cheque. So far as I am aware, there has been no criticism of the salary paid to the Federal Capital commissioners. Similar action was taken in connexion with the commission to administer Northern Australia. The Government does not intend to pay extravagant salaries. It has been suggested during the debate that the chairman of the commission is to be paid a salary of £5,000 per annum. That may or may not be the case, but, even should he be paid that salary, it does not follow that the other commissioners will receive anything like that amount. I can assure the Senate that the Government will not pay more than the men are worth. As, however, the Senate so clearly expressed its views recently in connexion with the salaries of the members of the Federal Capital Commission, I feel that the same course should be adopted in connexion with this bill.

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