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Thursday, 8 December 1960

Mr STEWART (Lang) .- The Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) and many honorable members on the Government side of the chamber seem to have drawn the conclusion that members of the Labour Party oppose adequate salaries being paid to the judiciary. No member of the

Opposition has made such a statement during the course of this debate. The point we are making in this debate on retrospectivity and otherwise, is that irrespective of what happens in Victoria or New South Wales we consider that the salary being paid to judges of the High Court at present - £8,000 for the Chief Justice and £6,500 for the puisne justices - is adequate.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - Order! That clause deals not with the amounts of salary, but the date of commencement of the salaries.

Mr STEWART - These amounts are to be increased.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - Order! The honorable member for Lang will have an opportunity to discuss that matter under clause 3. We are discussing clause 2, which, as I have said repeatedly, deals with the date of operation of the legislation.

Mr STEWART - I agree, Mr. Temporary Chairman, but my point is that the £2,000 a year increase is to be back-dated to 1st October. Surely a man who is receiving the kind of salary that the judges are receiving at present has no need to take a week-end job in order to make ends meet. There is no reason at all for this legislation to be back-dated. If there were reasons, then the very same reasons could be put forward for back-dating increases granted to pensioners. If it is right to back-date increases for members of Parliament, it is likewise right to back-date increases for pensioners. If we are going to lay down a standard for judges and members of Parliament, the same standard should be applied when dealing with pensioners.

There is just one other suggestion I would like to make when dealing with this retrospective provision. When the back salary is paid to the judges, I suggest that the Attorney-General should arrange for the Christmas present of £300 or thereabouts to be sent out to each of them in the form of a gift cheque, with an accompanying letter wishing them a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.

Motion (by Sir Garfield Barwick) put -

That the question be now put.

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