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Thursday, 8 December 1960

Sir GARFIELD BARWICK (Parramatta) (Attorney-General) . - I wish to say one or two words about retrospectivity. When the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) put the Opposition's case, he said this proposal could not be faulted in logic, because he knows quite well that any one who analysed accurately the structure of the salary of the judges-

Mr Whitlam - I did not say that about retrospectivity but about the salaries of the judges.

Sir GARFIELD BARWICK - That is so. Any one who accurately analyses the structure of the salaries of the judges must realize that we cannot avoid giving them a substantial increase. The increases should have been given on 1st January of this year because the logic and justice of the increases existed then as much as it does now. But the Government has not hastened to do this. So far from this bill doing anything retrospectively, it marks caution on the part of the Government. In truth these judges have been deprived of salary increases that they were entitled to receive many months ago. The Government deliberately withheld this bill and this announcement for this distinct reason: I said, in substance, in my secondreading speech that I was anxious on this occasion to prevent this constant leapfrogging of State and Federal salaries. My speech shows how some States have lifted their salaries to the point where they are greater than our Federal salaries; and I do not think that any member of this House will disagree with me in saying that that is an intolerable situation. The Government therefore wanted to fix on this occasion proper salaries for the judges which would not merely be proper at this moment, but would also be proper in prospect for a substantial number of years. The Government did not wish to countenance any suggestion that these salaries were going to be constantly re-adjusted when changes took place in industrial wages or in Public Service remuneration.

The Government therefore set a date to fix these salaries - late rather than early; because in all justice these judges should have had these increases in salary long since. Further, there has been a great deal of bandying of words about the economic situation. I do not know whether honorable members realize that in this bill we are dealing with a sum of about £4,000 per year net, because the net increase of salary to these judges is something of the order of £500 or £600, assuming that they have no other income. If they have any other income, the net increase is considerably less There are seven of these judges, so we are dealing here with a sum of about £4,000 in actual cost to the country. Really we have been listening to what some honorable members behind me have, I think very properly, referred to as a good deal of humbug.

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