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Friday, 9 July 1915

Senator LYNCH - Possibly that was so. It seems to me to be a fallacy to perpetuate a fiction that was embodied in our Constitution. Under that instrument, seven Ministers were provided for, and when this number was fixed upon, it was generally agreed that the Prime Minister would not draw any salary at all, but that the £12,000 provided would be for the other six Ministers, the understanding being that as Prime Minister he would be satisfied with any honour ,and glory that might attach to the position.

Senator O'Keefe - The first Parliament created two new portfolios.

Senator LYNCH - Early in the history df the Commonwealth it was shown that we should get .away from this attempt to fix, in a business-like document like the Constitution, anything in the nature of a fiction, because, in actual practice, the Prime Minister, on nearly every occasion, has had to include amongst his duties same portfolio or salaried position, for the very obvious reason that a man engaged in the hurly-burly of public life - no matter how much it might appeal to him on the honour and glory side - could not maintain his position without some salaried portfolio. I say, therefore, that we are in a measure following that fiction by bringing in a Bill of this kind, because we are reducing the salary, and, in addition, by appointing only one Minister we are not providing for the adequate requirements of the Commonwealth. When the Commonwealth was established, it was thought that the functions of the Federal Government would be purely administrative, and of such a civil character that it would not be brought into close touch with the people as is found necessary to-day. That conception is wholly out of place with present day requirements, for it was in keeping with the Jeffersonian maxim that that Government is best which does the least governing, whereas the view to-day, after fifteen years of experience, is that a Government is judged, not by the small amount -of governing done, but by the large and the increasing nature of its administrative activities. At present we are striving to carry on the government of this .country under conditions which were .not anticipated when the Federal compact was made. I mention the matter of the emolument, £1,650, and I say that in fixing it at that sum we are approaching the subject in a most parsimonious spirit, and in a manner that ought not to be encouraged for a moment. In the Commonwealth we have a population of 5,000,000 .people, and we are now going to provide a sum of £13,650 for administrative purposes. Apparently, our idea is that a Minister in charge of a Department should be paid in proportion to the services rendered. But is that so ? We are attempting to make ourselves believe it is so, when, in reality, it is not so, because the men who are filling those offices to-day are performing services for which they are not by any means sufficiently paid. If we look into the industrial or commerical fields,, we will find that when men of brains and ability are required, employers are prepared to go to the open market and pay for them. When a bank wants its affairs managed efficiently, the directors are prepared to go up to £2,000 or even higher when a :man of marked ability is called for. Some of the mining companies, too, controlling a mineral area of, perhaps, only 50 acres, pay £3,000, £4,000, £5,000, and even as high as £10,000 a year for a man to manage a property.

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