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Thursday, 8 December 1960

Mr WHITLAM (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) .- Clause 3 increases the salary of the Chief Justice of Australia from £8,000 to £10,000 and of the puisne justices of the High Court from £6,500 to £8,500. At an earlier stage, I gave the basis of the Opposition's objection to the timing and the size of these increases. It is true, of course, that now every justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and Victoria receives a higher judicial income than does any judge of the High Court, except the Chief Justice. It is also true that the Chief Justice of Australia receives only £62 a year more than does the Chief Justice of Victoria and £268 more than does the Chief Justice of New South Wales.

As 1 conceded at an earlier stage, thereis logic in increasing the salaries of judges to whom appeals can lie from judges whonow receive higher salaries. But I pointed out the lack of wisdom in introducing this bill at this stage, the hour at which it was introduced, the stage of the session at which it was introduced, the isolation with which this particular question of salaries is being dealt with and the fact that the margin has now to be corrected because of the Government's inaction over the past five years, during which this leap-frogging process, as the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) has aptly described it, has occurred through the judicial jealousies between New South Wales and Victoria.

I shall not go over those arguments again. There are just a few matters that I wish to bring up at this stage when we are dealing with the precise salaries involved. The salary of the Chief Justice of Australia, which is now to be £10,000 a year, is the largest salary fixed by any act of any Australian Parliament. Furthermore, it is a salary £1,500 in excess of the proposed salary for the other judges who sit with him on the bench.

Mr Falkinder - Is not the salary of the Governor-General greater than that?

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