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Thursday, 17 November 1938

Mr MAHONEY (Denison) .- I support the attitude adopted by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward). I am opposed to the suggested increase of the Cabinet fund from £16,950 to £18,000. I neverobject to a man receiving a good salary if he is worth it, but I cannot agree that some honorable gentlemen' who are to-day sitting on the treasury bench are worth the salary they receive. There has been a good deal of juggling for Cabinet positions. One honorable member has had to step aside in favour of another, and a new position has been created for still another honorable gentleman. I say quite frankly that I do not think that the Minister for Works (Mr. Thorby) should have been appointed to his new position. Ibelieve the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) appointedhim to appease the Country party.

The CHAIRMAN - I must ask the honorable member to confine his remarks to the clause before the Chair.

Mr Blain - He cannot do so.

The CHAIRMAN - If the honorable member for the Northern Territory does not cease interjecting, I shall name him,

Mr MAHONEY - I regard the introduction of this bill as a pure salary grab, for which -there is no justification whatever. If the Minister for- Works was not fit to hold his previous portfolio, he is not fit to hold the one he now has. Persons in ordinary employment who cannot do the work entrusted to them expect to get the "sack" and, of course, they get it. Politicians should not expect to be treated differently. The members of the Cabinet are already receiving good salaries. The introduction of this bill is a pure ramp. The Government is, in fact, taking money out of the Treasury bill in an improper way. We have a decadent Ministry on the treasury bench, and it is time it was removed. Ministers should not be glued to their position by f.s.d., particularly as thousands of women and children in this country are still suffering from malnutrition, and many workers are unable to earn enough money to maintain their wives and families in even moderate comfort..

The CHAIRMAN - I must again ask the honorable member to connect his remarks with the clause. If he does not do so in a more effective fashion this time, I shall have to ask him to resume his seat.

Mr MAHONEY - Is that a threat or a warning?

The CHAIRMAN - The honorable member will resume his seat.

Mr MAHONEY - I shall not. The Chairman is absolutely biased and prejudiced.

The CHAIRMAN - I name the honorable member.

Mr Casey - I make an appeal to the honorable member for Denison. (Mr. Mahoney) to pay to the Chair the respect that is due to it. 1 feel sure that if he reconsiders his remarks he will realize that they ought to be withdrawn, and that he should apologize to the Chairman. With the indulgence of the Chairman I earnestly appeal to him to do so.

Mr MAHONEY - I withdraw my remarks and apologize. The circumstances which we now face undoubtedly justify us in criticizing the Government. There can be no excuse for increasing the Cabinet fund while so many people in this country are still without the bare necessaries of life. Necessitous mothers throughout Australia require financial assistance to enable them to carry out their noble functions and the rearing of their families. We have to keep a close watch on the expenditure of the Commonwealth in order to see that all the money, is expended judiciously and in the best interests of the nation as a whole. If Ministers are conscientious and honest in their desire to serve their country, they, should be content to accept theirpublic duties without seeking to increase their allowances. A prospective member ofParliament knows that he will be called . upon to serve his country, and that for his service an allowance will be paid to him. If he considers that membership of the national Parliament calls for too greata sacrifice on his part, he should not con- . template a political career. The getrichquick methods adopted by the present Ministry, encouraged by the Country , party, are much to be deplored. It is only because of a desire to retain in the Cabinet a member of the Country party who is not capable of holding down a ministerial portfolio, that this increase of ministerial allowances becomes necessary. Everything should be done to discourage this attempt on the part of the Prime Minister to buy the support of the Country party. If a Minister is not capable of doing his job he should resign. I protest on behalf of the people who sent ' me here to represent them in this national Parliament against the bushranging tactics adopted by the Ministry in seeking to increase the ministerial allowances.

The CHAIRMAN - Order !

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