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Thursday, 20 May 1920

Mr HECTOR LAMOND (Illawarra) . - I am sorry that the honorable member for Fawkner has thought it necessary to take up the attitude he has taken in regard to this measure, because it is hardly fair to himself and to the House. He states that he has an understanding with his constituents that he is not to give so much of his time to the work of Parliament as is given by other honorable members. If that is so, he has all along been better paid than his fellows, because the rest of us have agreed to give so much of our time to the business of Parliament as may be necessary for the work required of us. The honorable member says that he has made an arrangement with his constituents by which he may absent himself from the House in order to earn a better living outside, but that for the time he is able to be here he is to get the same remuneration as those who devote themselves wholly to the work of Parliament.

Mr Riley - We cannot find any published statement to the effect that the honorable member would give to the public only part of his time.

Mr HECTOR LAMOND - I accept the honorable member's assurance; but it weakens his case beyond repair. If members were to make conditions with their constituents, one saying that he would attend only an hour a week and another the whole week, the election of a member of Parliament would be degraded to a sort of Dutch auction. I support the proposition of the Prime Minister, but I think that we should insert in the Bill a provision similar to that in the New South Wales law, under which, if members do not draw their remuneration within a reasonable time, it is forfeited to the Treasury. There have been instances in which men have posed as conscientious objectors, and, after having by that attitude gained the votes of their constituents time after time, have eventually gone to the Treasury and drawn back pay covering a number of years. We should provide against that. Men should not have the credit of refusing to take money, and be permitted to draw it later, after it has been accumulating as a sort of provision for their old age. It is not playing the game for a member to denounce an increase and to win election after election by his denunciation of it, and then, when the electors have tired of him, to collect the money that he said he would not take. We should at all events remove the temptation which might beset conscientious objectors, and preserve the pristine purity of their consciences.

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