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Wednesday, 28 March 1973
Page: 824

Mr SPEAKER - Is leave granted? There being no objection leave is granted. (The letter read as follows) -

Dear Mr Anthony,

I am writing about the salaries and allowances of office-holders under the Parliamentary Allowances Act 1953-1970.

As from 5th December when your government resigned, your position became that of the Leader of the third party in the House of Representatives and under the Parliamentary Allowances Act 1952-1970 you are entitled, in additon to your salary and allowance as a member of Parliament, to a salary of $2,500 p.a. and an allowance of $750 p.a. In the expectation, however, that the act will be amended to take account of changed circumstances, I have authorised the same payment to you as to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition - an additional salary, of $5,000 p.a. and allowance of $1,500- as from 5th December.

As far as other office-holders of your party are concerned, Mr England will continue to be paid as Country Party Whip and Senator Drake-Brockman (as well as Senator Gair) will receive the additional salary and allowance of $1,000 p.a. and $500 p.a. paid under the act to the Leader of the second nonGovernment party in the Senate.I would add that the Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department has advised that Senator Gair and Senator DrakeBrockman can both be paid the additional salary and allowances under the act only because both the Democratic Labor Party and the Country Party have equal numbers of Senators. Were the numbers not equal then, under the law, payment would be made to the Leader of the larger party.

A cabinet sub-comittee under Senator Willesee is considering amendments to the act. He would welcome any suggestions from you.

Yours sincerely,

E.   G. Whitlam

Mr SINCLAIR - I believe that the principle that the Country Party supports has been effectively demonstrated. Therefore, we do not oppose the measure at this stage. However, we still strongly maintain the principle we enunciated earlier. The Bill should have been changed to give adequate recognition of the status of the Leader of the Australian Country Party in his salary and allowance.

Bill agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.

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