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Tuesday, 1 October 1935

Mr ROSEVEAR (Dalley) .- The Government has stated that this bill has been introduced to provide for the promotion of the Assistant Treasurer to full Cabinet rank in order that the burden of ministerial work may be shared. The committee has agreed to that. But, on top of that, we are asked to give Ministers an additional £100 a year for doing less work than they perform at present. Ministers complain that they have been overworked, and have asked Parliament to relieve the burden by the appointment of an additional Minister. But why should we be asked to provide more money for each Minister for the carrying out of a less amount of work? The charge that the Opposition is opposed to the payment of a new Minister is entirely without foundation. If the amendment of the honorable member for Hunter (Mr James) is accepted, provision will be made for the payment of the additional Minister, but if the bill is passed in its present form, not only will an additional

Minister's allowance be provided, but also a further sum of £900 will be provided for the other Ministers comprising the Cabinet. Significantly enough, there are nine other Ministers who, apparently, will each share in this additional £900. The Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) has sought to justify the increase in the number of Ministers by the amount of administrative work that has to be performed by them. My experience was that as soon as the number of Ministers was increased, it became increasingly difficult to approach them on matters relating to their departments. As I see it, the position is really that there are not sufficient loaves and fishes to go around among the avaricious members on the Government side. A certain amount of room is to be provided for members of the Country party who profess to be staunch in their stand for policy and principle before jobs, but who to-day are clamouring for the loaves and fishes of office. Additional members of the United Australia party have to be found Cabinet positions to counteract the influence of Country party Ministers. As I have said, the real reason for an increase of the number of Ministers- is to make room for those- gentlemen within the two parties who desire to scale the heights of ministerial rank. I justify myself in supporting the amendment moved by the honorable member for Hunter, because to do the logical thing the committee must vote sufficient to cover the additional expense of appointing another full-time Minister. But the committee is justified in refusing to pav to all other Ministers £100 a year to do less work than they did formerly.

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