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Thursday, 13 May 1920

Mr MAXWELL - In any case, honorable members offered their services at the figure ruling. Moreover, one of the stock subjects of debate during the campaign was the high cost of living, so that candidates knew the facts, and, furthermore, many of the candidates had had the experience of living on £600 a year, and yet they deliberately offered to renew their engagement to the electors at that figure. Every nian must look at this matter from his own point of view, and satisfy his own conscience, and I say that my conscience will not permit me to vote for this motion.

Mr West - My conscience wants the higher salary.

Mr MAXWELL - It is not a matter of wanting it. If we were going to the country, I would advocate an increase in the ' remuneration of honorable members. I do not know how those honorable members who are entirely dependent upon their parliamentary allowance, especially those who come from other States, can begin to live on £600 a year. Yet, knowing the facts, they offered to serve for that salary.

Mr J H Catts - Will the honorable member consider this point for a moment? Suppose he had been elected twenty years ago on a certain salary, and had given up his private practice to enter Parliament, and now found that he could not get back to .private practice?

Mr MAXWELL - My answer to that is that an honorable member so placed should have told his constituents that he could not live on the salary paid to him, and that if it were not increased, he must retire. Had such a candidate retired, he would have found a dozen men ready to take his place.

Mr J H Catts - Of course he would ; wealthy men !

Mr Considine - That is what the employers say all the time, " If you do not like the job, get out."

Mr MAXWELL - The honorable member for Cook (Mr. J. H. Catts) spoke of the expense to which he was put in his pre-selection campaign, but were the parliamentary allowance increased to £1,000 a vear, his pre-selection expenses would be infinitely greater than they are at present. Apart from, the merits of the case, what determines my position is that I offered my services to the country at a certain figure, and that offer having been accepted, I cannot in reason or conscience go back on it.

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