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Thursday, 13 May 1920

Mr TUDOR (Yarra) .- Like the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Bamford), I have been a member of this Parliament from its inception. During the last nineteen years I have given to the people of Australia the best service of which I was capable, and I am satislied that had I devoted the same amount of energy to private business, I would have been infinitely better off than _I am to-day. This is not, and cannot be made, a party question. Every member is at liberty to speak or vote as he chooses' upon this amendment, and as far as I know, no arrangement of any sort has been made. Of course, the question cannot be settled by the carrying of the amendment, because an increase in salary can only be effected by passing an amending Bill. When that Bill is before the House, every honorable mem ber will have an opportunity to speak and vote according to his own views. The last increase in the parliamentary salary was made in 1907. From the beginning of January, 1910, until 31st December, 1919, there have been five elections and five referenda, three of them were held apart from the general elections - two on the conscription issue, and one, in 1911, in regard to a proposal to amend the Constitution. In addition, it has been my privilege to have ' travelled through four different States in connexion with four State general elections, and also in connexion with by-elections, and to visit all the other States of the Commonwealth in connexion with public matters. In 1917, when we had a Federal general election, a referendum on conscription, a by-election in Ta'smania, and another in Victoria. I travelled about 25,000 miles. I could not have done that had I not been a Minister of the Crown in previous years. I was out of pocket: but I bore the loss, because I believed that I was merely doing my duty.

Mr Fenton -. - Can any honorable member be a true Australian unless he travels about the Commonwealth?

Mr TUDOR - I do not think he can.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - This is the only Australian Parliament in which the Leader of the Opposition does not receive a special payment..

Mr TUDOR - As a good unionist, I believe that I should be declared "black" by all other Leaders of Oppositions in Australia. Some honorable members, including those who have been in the House for many years, are under the impression that I do receive an allowance. All I can say is that, if I do, I do not know where it goes; it never reaches me. I realize that the interests of members from other States, and the Victorian country members, are in less fortunate positions than are those honorable members who represent Melbourne metropolitan electorates. But it is useless to say that we will vote a special allowance for some honorable members. The Constitution does not allow us to differentiate in the taxation of individuals, and I do not think it will permit us to differentiate between the payment of members of Parliament. Neither do we desire to do so. If £600 was a fair salary in 1907, and I believe it was, we are entitled to some increase to-day. I shall support this amendment, and if it is followed by a Bill I shall vote to increase the present salary.

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