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Tuesday, 10 June 1902

Mr McDONALD (Kennedy) - I do not know that the honorable and learned member should withdraw the motion. I disapproved of his action in voting for the allowance, but I approve of his action in moving, as a protest against the manner in which this business has been conducted by the Government, that the Chairman do leave the chair. Although every honorable member knows that the Government have done wrong, the committee is willing to do what theGovernmentdesire. Probably, under any other circumstances, the Government would have lost their positions over this matter. W e have not had one straightforward statement from them in connexion with it, and their quibbling, twisting, and wriggling has been such as any decent Government should be ashamed of. The Government hesitated about giving the widow of an unfortunate public servant - who, through no fault of his own, received injuries during the execution of his duties which caused his death, and left those dependent upon him penniless-£100; and yet they are prepared to place the Australian Commonwealth at the feet of Mr. Chamberlain, and to ask honorable members to vote any amount for the up-keeping of the establishment of the Governor-General. Such conduct is degrading, not only to the Government, but also to Parliament ; and as a Member of Parliament I feel humiliated and ashamed at what has been done. It is time, therefore, that some one made a strong protest. I think that the very high reputation of the Treasurer will be shaken by what has taken place, though I am pleased that the Prime Minister happens to be away, because the probability is that, if he had been here, we should not have received the straightforward statement which was delivered by the Treasurer to-night. If the motion is not withdrawn, I shall vote for it as a protest against the action of the Government. I consider that the Commonwealth have been got at in this matter. When are we going to receive the promised statement as to the Government's proposals in regard to these allowances? I should like to get at the same time the true history of the whole business, and to know what pressure was put upon the Government. I have it upon very good authority that in anticipation of the right honorable member for Maitland becoming the first Prime Minister, it was arranged with him in London that, in addition to the £10,000 salary, the Governor-General should be paid a sufficient amount in allowances to be able to do the thing in style. I have entered my protest on this occasion, and in future years when these votes are brought forward there will probably be discussions similar to that which we have had tonight.

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