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Thursday, 20 May 1920

Mr BLUNDELL (Adelaide) .- I was not present last week when the vote was taken on the motion submitted by the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Bamford), but I have no desire to give a silent vote on the Bill. I was asked last week by certain electors in my constituency if I would have voted for the motion had I been present, and I replied that if I had voted to increase the allowance to £1,000 a year it would have been because I thought I was worth the money, and intended to take it; that if I could not vote for it, I would not take it. I believe that members of this Parliament are entitled to a salary in keeping with the performance of their very important national duties, and I think the House is quite justified in increasing the salaries of its members. The Constitution specially provides that we shall have this power. The fact that we are considering a measure to increase our own salaries does not suggest that we shall be unmindful of the rights of other workers. On the contrary, I venture the opinion that men who value themselves at less than £600 a year - and some honorable members are inclined to do that - are not likely to improve the condition of the workers. A man who recognises his own value, is more likely to do the best for his fellow-men. Not only shall I vote for the Bill, but I can assure honorable members that I shall not go to any of my constituents and say - "Mr. Von Heinreich, are you hard up? Do you want a fiver? Well here it is." I shall not go amongst my " dear " German friends who live in the division of Adelaide and distribute part of my salary amongst them. I shall not do anything to assist the Tanunda Club, for instance, to fight for the right to re-open. I shall not issue circulars in the division of Angas, urging the Government to re-open the German schools so that "poor" little German children may be again taught in the Germanlanguage, and to honour the Kaiser instead of the Union Jack and our King. That is what some people would do to get into this House.

Mr Austin Chapman - You ought to be shot ifyou attempted to do that.

Mr BLUNDELL - I am saying that I shall not attempt to do it. If I lived in the division of Angas I hope I would be too honest to crawl and cringe to Ger- mans to get into a British House of Parliament.

Mr Considine - Thenyou would not issue an electoral circular in the German language ?

Mr BLUNDELL - No ; nor would I make an appeal to the Germans.

Mr Considine - That is what your party did on a previous occasion, then.

Mr BLUNDELL - When this Bill is carried I shall not distribute any of the increase in salary among the " poor " unfortunate people who were interned, because I think I am worth the full thousand myself, and, as a good trade unionist, I feel that any increase in salary should not be used for the purpose of bribing electors to return me for another three years.

Mr Ryan - The question is an abstract one: Is the position worth it?

Mr BLUNDELL - It is. But I want to clear up these little points. My friend, the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Gabb), who is now a leading ornament of his party, has told us that he will distribute this surplus cash first to Germans in his district, and then to the Herald, and the Labour party funds. It is unfair for any honorable member of this House, knowing that his selection for a division is determined by plebiscite, to bribe the Germans, and also the members of his own party, to record their votes in his favour.

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