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Tuesday, 6 December 1927


Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I should not have taken part in this discussion but for a remark of the right honorable the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce). I was very much surprised to hear the Minister say that these Estimates were not the Estimates of the Government, but the Estimates of the Government plus the President and Mr. Speaker. To me this seems to be a very peculiar position.


Senator Duncan - Parliament always controls its own officers.


Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I always understood that these Estimate:- were presented by the Treasurer, and that they were the Estimates of the Government.


Senator Sir George Pearce - The Government does not interfere with the Estimates of Parliament.


Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - It appears then that if the Government thought that the salaries which the President and Mr. Speaker had fixed for some parliamentary officers were too high, and others were not high enough, the Government would still have to submit the Estimates.


Senator Sir George Pearce - And take action in the House,


Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Exactly. If the Government thought that the salaries fixed by the President and Mr. Speaker were too high, the only means by which the Ministry could act would be for a member of the Government to object to Estimates placed before Parliament by the Government. Does not this appear to be a peculiar position?


Senator Sir George Pearce - If the position were otherwise the Government would have control over officers of Parliament.


Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - As I have said, I always understood that these Estimates were the Estimates of the Government, and that in every respect they had the approval of the Minister. To me it seems strange that the Government should not be responsible for them. ' I was much interested in the speech of the Leader of the Senate. After referring to the arguments of the President in support of these Estimates, he said in effect, "I do not believe in them, but I intend to support the action of the President in regard to these Estimates." In other words, he does not appro* e of the reasons advanced by the President for bis action, but quite approves of what the President has done! I believe certain judicial officers make it a rule never to give reasons for their judgments. Obviously it is a sound rule, because their judgments might be sound enough, but their reasons totally unsound. Many judgments have, I believe, been upset on that account. However, I have obtained the information to seek which I rose to speak, so I will say nothing more.







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