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Thursday, 20 May 1920

Mr CONSIDINE (Barrier) .- While listening to the remarks of the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. McWilliams) it occurred to me that they had a strangely familiar ring. I have heard similar arguments advanced in Broken Hill by men of the same type who were prepared to let some of us do the fighting for better working conditions and more pay. They did not think we ought to go on strike or take direct action to secure better conditions, but they were always prepared to take whatever we gained as the result of our efforts. I am informed by honorable members that those who protested when the last increase was made did not hesitate to take the benefits which were secured by those who had the courage, whatever the risk, to vote for what they believed to be right.

As I told the House when this proposal was first made by the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Bamford), I do not base my support of it on the pretence thatI cannot subsist on the allowance which I now receive. I want to reiterate the point which I then endeavoured to make - and which has been mentioned to-night by the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Rodgers) - that I support this proposal because it is necessary to safeguard the interests of the dependants of members, and more especially the dependants of those who, on entering the House, are prepared to speak their mind without fear of the consequences. The man who intends to be a strict partisan and to follow his party blindly will probably be very careful to listen to what his constituents say, and particularly to his party's statements. He will probably go whichever way they want him to go if he wishes to remain here under any circumstances. I say quite plainly to the House that a considerable portion of the allowance which I receive as a member of this House has gone to help the workers on strike.

Mr. Hay.; Stop the strike and save your money.

Mr CONSIDINE - Like the honorable member, I believe in stopping a strike when we win.

Mr. Hay.; Why complain ?

Mr CONSIDINE - I am not complaining. I thank the honorable member and other honorable members opposite for bringing forward this proposal, which will enable the men on strike at Broken Hill to secure an increased proportion of my allowance. I "make no bones" about the matter.

Mr. Hay.; But the honorable member is. He is complaining of his poverty.

Mr CONSIDINE - No. -I said at the outset that I did riot pretend that I was not able to live on my present allowance. Evidently the honorable member intends to vote with the " Noes."

Mr Hay - The honorable member is a very bad guesser.

Mr CONSIDINE - Then his only ob,jection is to the direction in which I intend to allow a portion of my increased allowance to go. The only other point I wish to make is that nothing is to be gained by honorable members contrasting the decrease in the purchasing power of their salary with the decrease of the purchasing power of the wages of the workers outside. If honorable members are worse off than they were before the war, how much more worse off. must be the people referred to by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) in submitting this measure to the House. That, however, does not really touch the position. As long as I remain a member of this House my aim will be to help the people outside where necessary to adopt precisely the same method that honorable members are now adopting. If they cannot get what they desire by other means, then the people outside should follow our example in raising our own salaries. I want to establish outside the House as well as inside it the principle that the people who work should determine the conditions under which they shall work.

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