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Thursday, 17 November 1938

Mr MULCAHY (Lang) .- If we wanted an argument in favour of the rejection of this clause, we had it from the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) this evening. The honorable gentleman has just left the Cabinet and knows exactly what is necessary. After listening to the honorable member,, and to arguments advanced by other honorable members during this debate, I am perfectly satisfied that there is no necessity for the proposed increased expenditure. Whilst I believe that the Ministry should be paid adequately, I consider it unnecessary to add to the expenditure on ministerial allowances at a time when members are frequently directing questions to Ministers urging the provision of necessary works for the relief of unemployment, only to be told that no money is available. Even in this Australian Capital Territory, there is in the Property Office of the Department of the Interior a great list of applicants waiting for homes. The money proposed to be voted under this hill would at least provide some homes for those people. I register my emphatic protest against this proposal to increase allowances of Ministers. We know, of course - and it has been stated more than once during the debate - that the increase of the personnel of the Ministry was due simply to a desire to stifle the internal dissatisfaction which existed amongst members of the parties supporting the Government. Because some were inclined to be troublesome and to stop the bickering that had been going on, the Government decided upon the recent re-allocation of portfolios.

The CHAIRMAN - The honorable member is not keeping to the clause.

Mr MULCAHY - I am trying to show that this money could be devoted to better purposes. We know that the Ministry hesitated to pay £5,000 or £6,000 in order to test direction-finding apparatus in the various aerodromes throughout the Commonwealth, and because of this the apparatus is not yet in use, yet it is proposed in. this measure to increase the cost of ministerial salaries by £1,500. I oppose the proposal, and I hope that even at this stage the committee will reject the clause, and that the money will be put to a better use in providing homes for the people here in Canberra.

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