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Thursday, 13 May 1920

Dr EARLE PAGE (COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES) .- I 'do not know whether I shall be regarded by honorable members as a prehistoric man. when I express the view that, in my opinion, there should be no payment of members at all. But I recognise that there cannot be proper representation of every class in the community, especially the industrial classes, unless there is payment of members. Neither can there be stable government unless every class in the community is properly represented in Parliament. If, therefore, we are to have payment of members, the pay -should not be skimped in any way, but should be ample to attract the best men. In the first place, it should be ample, in order to increase the competition for the position, thus attracting the best men to the National Parliament. Secondly, I believe that an increase of salary will bring about much more quickly the further subdivision of Australia into self-governing provinces. The present cost of Legislatures must be lessened; and I think that, by making adequate provision for the payment of members of this Parliament, we shall bring the people of Australia much more quickly to a right state of mind upon this question. My own position is that, before entering the House, I made up my mind as to the annual loss I could sustain, and I am willing to continue through this Parliament, and through any subsequent ones of which I may be a member, still bearing that loss. But I realize, from the short experience I have had in travelling between Melbourne and my own State, that there is no possibility of a member from other States, or even of a Victorian country representative, living within his present parliamentary salary. For that reason, I think it would be grossly unfair if I were to stand in the way of this proposal for no other reason than that I am a little more fortunately placed than are some of my fellow members, p

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