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Thursday, 15 July 1926

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - We have heard many statements regarding the salary that is to be given to the chairman and members of the commission. Parliament should know exactly what those salaries are to be. The bill should make specific .provision in that direction; otherwise we shall simply sign a blank cheque, and the Government will be able to- appoint any one it pleases at whatever salary it thinks sufficient. I am not contending that £5,000, or even £10,000, is too great a salary to pay. My argument isthat Parliament, and not the GovernorGeneral, should determine the amount. The Governor-General means the Government of the day, so that the Government will determine the salary of the members of this commission without the matter being referred to Parliament. When it was decided to appoint a High Commissioner for Australia, his salary was fixed by Parliament. That precedent should be followed. The salary of these four commissioners should not be left to the Government to fix. Sub-section 2 of clause 6 reads -

The chairman, the vice-chairman, and the other members of the commission shall severally receive, in reimbursement of their travelling and other expenses, such sums as, or sums calculated at such rates as, the GovernorGeneral -approves.

I am not so concerned about the travelling expenses as about the salaries to be paid. I ask the Leader of the Senate whether he is prepared to accept an amendment setting out the salaries to be paid to the commissioners?

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