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Thursday, 20 May 1920

Mr JACKSON (Bass) (1:56 AM) .- I had not an opportunity of speaking upon the motion for an increase of our parliamentary allowance which was submitted in this Chamber last Thursday, and I wish, therefore, to tell honorable members precisely where I stand. I voted for that motion, which affirmed the advisableness of increasing our parliamentary salaries to an amount not exceeding £1,000 per annum. But like the honorable member for Wimmera. I think that the case might very well be met by a travelling allowance. I supported the proposal of the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Bamford) on account of the position that is occupied by the representatives of 'distant States like Western Australia and Queensland. They are entitled to more consideration than are honorable members like myself, who can go to their homes at the weekends. At the same time it is not equitable that I should be asked to accept the same allowance as a Victorian representative, who can sleep in his own home every night. I happen to occupy a more fortunate position, perhaps, than some honorable members, inasmuch as I am interested in a business. How long that business will remain a profitable one I cannot say.

Obviously I cannot give proper attention both, to it and to my duties in this Parliament. One or the other must suffer. If my business is to suffer I must be adequately remunerated for my services here, otherwise I shall have to leave the Parliament, and that may not be a good thing for the country. I have no desire to be personal, but if an accurate clocking of honorable members were taken, it would be found that the Victorian representatives devote the least time to the discharge of their duties in this Chamber. Unfortunately, the present shipping service between the mainland and Tasmania precludes me from getting home for more than a day and a half at each week end. Now, it is not reasonable that I should be expected to travel 600 or 700 miles for the sake of spending a day and a half weekly in my own city. I believe, therefore, that there should be an increase granted to honorable members by way of a travelling allowance. I would like to see a medium course adopted, and with that end in view I am prepared to support a proposal to increase the salaries of honorable members to £800 per annum. But evidently I shall be precluded from doing that, because when the proposal is voted upon the question will be put in the form " that the clause stand part of the Bill." Consequently, I shall be obliged to vote for an increase to £1,000' per annum, or to oppose that increase - I cannot vote for an increase to £800 per annum. Now, I do not intend to place myself in the position of voting against this Bill, and to afterwards accept the increased emolument. When I was before my constituency I preached the doctrine of the economy of nigh wages; and I think tha.t the press of Australia, " instead of reviling honorable members of this House for supporting an increase in the parliamentary allowance, and thus inducing a. better class of candidates to come forward, ought to approve of the step.

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