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Wednesday, 7 December 1927

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) . - I thank the Minister for the answers he has given to my questions. The explanation is satisfactory so far as it goes; but I protest against the Government agreeing to pay such large sums to the States for the conveyance of members of Parliament over their railways.

Senator Crawford - The States own the railways.

Senator PAYNE - Until about two years ago the amount charged to the Commonwealth for a pass for members was about £60 per annum. The States then asked for £130. To my surprise the Prime Minister made an offer of £120, which was accepted. Now the States are asking for £160 per annum. Is there to be no limit to their demands? It would be better to pay for the actual trips undertaken by members of Parliament.

Senator Millen - Does the honorable senator know of one railway in Australia that is paying?

Senator PAYNE - No attempt has been made by the States to double the railway fares charged to the ordinary travelling public. A charge is made against the Commonwealth Government for every member of Parliament, although many of them rarely use the railways.

Senator Millen - But they have the opportunity to do so.

Senator PAYNE - That may be so; but they do not always avail themselves of it.

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