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Thursday, 20 May 1920

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) (1:10 AM) . - With regard to. the remarks of the honorable member for Fawkner, if he made with his constituents the arrangement he has spoken of, it was a very handy one to make. But the honorable member's campaign received a great deal of publicity in the Melbourne newspapers, and it is news to every member of this

House, and probably to his constituents, that any such arrangement was made. I do not doubt he may have said at some place that he could not give all his time to his parliamentary duties, but if that was said, it was said in a very obscure corner.

Mr J H Catts - His constituents have a right to know at the next election that that was the bargain made with him.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - All his constituents will know of it next time, and they belong to a different class from that which I take them to belong to, if they will indorse the honorable member's claim to be allowed to give only the fag end .of Ibis time to his parliamentary duties.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - He is a quarter- timer.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I doubt if he is even that. I am doubtful if there is any constituency that would approve of ite representative claiming the right to attend Parliament and carry out his public duties for only a portion of his time. At any rate, it would be a very handy arrangement, if it were permitted.

Mr Stewart - What is wrong with it if one's constituents are satisfied?

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not think any constituency in Australia would knowingly enter into a contract to permit its representative to attend only portion of the sittings of the national Legislature, and to spend the greater part of his time earning money outside. When the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell) was returning thanks upon the occasion of his recent re-election his opponent accused him of not having won the campaign on political aspects alone. The honorable member is reported to have denied that, and to have said in- reply " I did not introduce anything else, because I never got a chance to speak at all. Your supporters did not allow me to speak upon any platform." If the honorable member was correctly reported - and, certainly, he was widely so reported - I can understand that if he could not speak at all he could not have had the opportunity to tell his constituents that he intended to give only a quarter of his time to his duties in Parliament in the task of earning his £600 per annum.

Mr J H Catts - It was a silly attack on his motor-car which put the honorable member for Fawkner back into Parliament.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It may have been that.

Mr Maxwell - Does the honorable member mean to tell me that it is not generally known that 1 am engaged in a fairly large practice?

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member's constituents did not expect that, in the pursuance of that practice, he would absent himself from a great many of the sittings of Parliament. He must know 'that this Legislature cannot carry on unless there be a quorum present. I am certain that there have been many times when the House could not have met if it had had to depend on the honorable member for Fawkner to complete a quorum.

Mr Maxwell - Yes, it could have don© so. I would have undertaken to be present at all times and any time if it were necessary. I could have been absent from this House with profit on many occasions, and in more senses than one, when I deemed it my duty rather to attend.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is very interesting to hear the honorable member talk in that high strain. But he throws the onus on other honorable members, who confine themselves to their parliamentary salaries ' of £600 per annum, to regularly attend to their parliamentary business in order that Parliament may be carried on without fear of the lack of a quorum. The honorable member for Fawkner casts a reflection upon the honesty of every honorable member who supports the Bill. When I entered this Parliament I gave up my private business, and told those who sent me here that I would devote the whole of my time to their interests, and to the interests of this country. I am not afraid to compare my honesty of purpose with that of the honorable member. I give the whole of my time to my parliamentary duties, and am interested in no private business. The honorable member gives Parliament only the fag-end of his time, and earns, outside, ten times as much as his parliamentary salary. Which attitude now is the more honorable? I will leave it to the judgment of the electors of Fawkner.

The honorable member attends this Chamber when it suits him, and when he does not happen to be engaged very profitably elsewhere. I cannot believe that, when the electors of Fawkner selected him as their representative, they were aware that while this House was sitting he would be lucratively engaged elsewhere instead of attending to his constituents and the country's business. The honorable member accuses every honorable member who supports the Bill of being guilty of dishonesty. He must not expect, in the circumstances, that I should display other than strong feelings towards him. The honorable member, by interjection, has indicated that if the National Legislature were to meet in Sydney or Canberra he would not be able to remain a member of this Parliament.

Mr Maxwell - I could not afford to.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am pleased to hear that interjection. While this Parliament meets at the honorable member's own door, and he is thus able to earn big fees close at hand, instead of conscientiously attending the sittings of Parliament, he is quite willing to throw the onus of regular attendance upon honorable members from distant States. But if the Parliament were transferred from Melbourne, he would no longer retain his membership, because he could not afford to.

Mr Maxwell - I said that honorable members who support this Bill should have asked their constituents for a rise in salary when they went before them last year.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Honorable members who support an increase of salary are obeying the Constitution; the honorable member cannot say we are acting unconstitutionally. He claims that he is obeying the dictates of his conscience. That infers that, despite his actions and accusations, he has a conscience.

Mr Tudor - Some consciences are much more elastic than others. Some consciences are in a good state of repair because they have never been used.

Mr Maxwell - Does the honorable member mean to infer that insinuation regard ing myself ?

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - I do not think he does, for he knows you never had a conscience.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Honorable members who support the Bill can say with satisfaction, and in all conscientiousness, that they are moving for an increase in salary because they are devoting the whole of their time, for which they are at present underpaid, to their public duties. I would find it very much easier to satisfy my conscience by taking action such as I propose to take to-night than by spending threequarters of my time outside this chamber earning big fees instead of attending to the matters which I was sent here to attend to. I am sorry for the conscience of a person that will allow him to give but one-quarter of his time to the service of the people who sent him here to do their work.

Mr Maxwell - That is absolutely untrue.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I make that statement because I have been a spectator of what has gone on. I know . exactly when the honorable member comes into this chamber, when he is here, and when he is not here. I have made it my business to know. Many other honorable members, like myself, know casually who is in the chamber and who is not, and how long members are here. I am not exaggerating when I say that since I came into this House the honorable member forFawkner has not given half his time when the House has been sitting to the work that his constituents sent him here to do.

Mr Maxwell - It was only a quarter of my time just now.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - He has not given even a quarter of his time.

Mr Maxwell - I have given far more.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I only mention these matters to show that the honorable member should be the last man in this Chamber to charge other honorable members with lacking honesty of purpose.

Other honorable members have said that they are going to vote against the Bill, but will take the money. Words cannot describe the attitude of such people. Two members on the Ministerial side of the House said they were going to vote against the Bill, because they believed the proposed increase was akin to stolen property.

Mr MARR (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - And one on your side said so.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not care from which side of the House it was said. The statement was made by honorable members that the measure was "a raid on the Treasury" and " an act of robbery," but that they were going to take the money. I have always understood that the person who receives stolen goods " falls in " as badly as does the person that first takes the goods. Therefore, following the argument of those honorable members to its logical conclusion, if they think the extra money is stolen property, but still intend to accept it, they will stand in the position of receivers of stolen goods.

I came into this House pledged to my constituents to do no other work. While I am here I am going to do all in my power to make the lot of those who sent me here a little brighter than I found it when they elected me. It is my desire, in particular, to make the lot of the great masses of the working people of this country a little happier and better than it has been. To do that, I have given up my private business, and it will be difficult to find one of those whose lot I have tried to better that will say he does not want me to better my own position as well. The honorable member for Fawkner says that if Parliament sat in another State he could not be here at all. I, like many other members, represent a constituency in another State. I have to go over at the week-end, andam practically in the position of having to keep two homes going. The honorable member for Fawkner is not in that position, yet I have to give up my private business in order to attend to the work of those who sent me here. As the representative of a constituency situated in another State, it would be absolutely impossible for me to continue to live on the allowance I have been receiving, because it is equivalent only to £300 a year five years ago. Needless to say, I shall vote for the Bill. Some members are scared of what the newspapers are going to say about them. In another State, not one newspaper has mentioned a word about this matter. In one State, the newspapers are writing all sorts of ridiculous stuff about it, and some of those members who have spoken against the Bill are scared of them. That is why they are going to vote against it, although they are praying to heaven that it will be carried. I believe nine out of ten of those who are going to vote against the Bill are doing so because they know the numbers are up. I venture to say that, if they did not know this, they would risk everything in order to make sure that the Bill was carried

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