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Wednesday, 17 May 1939

Mr HOLLOWAY (Melbourne Ports) . - I wish to repeat briefly what I said at the second-reading stage, so that my position may be perfectly clear. I disagree with the suggestion of the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Lane) that we ought to be very generous, almost reckless, and give whatever amount we think ought to be given. The honorable member overlooks the important fact that we have no right to consider that we are free to give whatever we personally would like to give. I suggest that we have to consider that we are handling the people's money, and that we cannot do all that we should like to do. I am opposed to the amount proposed by the Government because I consider that it is too great, and I disagree with the conditions upon which it is based. Public servants in the Commonwealth and the States pay into a superannuation fund a portion of their salaries in order to make sure that they and their families will be provided for upon their retirement or death. The most highly-paid public servant in the land, after a service extending over nearly 40 years, would leave to his widow an. annuity of not more than £4 a week. There is no outcry on the ground that that amount is inadequate. Every one regards the Public Service superannuation scheme as a fair and reasonable one. I agree with the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Frost) that the proposal of the Government was conceived in an atmosphere of extreme sentiment and emotion. It was not fair to bind down to a decision arrived at in such an atmosphere either the members of this Parliament or the people of Australia. I am sure that had this case been considered as .past cases have been, months or even years after death, a different proposal would have been placed before this Parliament. I point out, also, that in the State of Tasmania the salary of a member of the legislature is only £400 a year ; yet it is now proposed that two and a half times that sum shall be given! The late Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) was an honorable member of that legislature for many years, when his family were young. We should not overlook the fact that four of the children are even now over sixteen years of age. Two of them are in their twenties, and before this grant reaches maturity at least six- of them will have passed the age of 26 or 27 years. Probably they will be parents, and have children of their own. Any proposal which envisages the participation of children at the age of 30 years or more almost borders on the ridiculous. On the grounds of logic, fairness and, justice, and considering that we are handling public money, I must object to the amount involved in this proposal. E take second place to no one in maintaining that we should provide for the widow and children of any public officer or any other member of the community, but I intend to vote against this proposal because the amount is excessive. I am also opposed to the proposal of the Opposition that the amount should i/? £500 a year.

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