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Tuesday, 1 October 1935

Mr RIORDAN (KENNEDY, QUEENSLAND) .- Regarding the statement by honorable members on this side that the Prime Minister (Mr Lyons), who was sitting in Opposition when the Premiers plan was introduced, gave an undertaking that immediately the financial affairs of this country recovered, restorations would be made to those on the lower social scale, and that the old-age pension would be increased to the full amount, I ask the right honorable gentleman whether hedid not vote with the government then in power which made that same promise? It would have been better had the statement that £1,300 was intended for the pool been made earlier, because the division of the money in the pool is a matter for the Ministers themselves. The composite nature of the Ministry has necessitated additional pay for extra Whips, and has imposed a heavy financial strain on Ministers. If it were merely a matter of providing the salary for a full Minister, instead of for an Assistant Minister, only about £400 would have been necessary. An. additional £900 will be placed in the pool so that the salaries of Ministers may be restored to what they were before the number of Assistant Ministers was increased to five. If the Government thinks that an additional full portfolio is necessary it ought not to be ashamed to say so. In any case, it has the numbers to carry its proposal and it must accept the responsibility for what is done. But the Opposition contends that if the finances of the country are in such a flourishing condition that an additional £1,300 can be provided for distribution among Ministers, the promise to the oldage pensioners that their full pension would be restored should be honoured. Under another measure now before Parliament a restoration of salary will be made to the lower paid public servants; but the poorest members of the community who were deprived of 2s. 6d. a week are not to get anything back.

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