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Friday, 3 October 1902

Mr WATSON (Bland) - I move-

That the motion be amended by the omission of all the words after the word " be," with a view to the insertion of the words " referred back to the committee for the reconsideration of Division 16."

Some dissatisfaction is felt by myself and others in regard to the division taken last week on the proposal to reduce the salary of the Secretary to the Attorney-General, because some honorable members appeared then to be voting under a misapprehension regarding the real question before the committee. As to my remarks at the time, concerning the action of the Chairman of Committees in voting with the Government, I am convinced, from what that honorable gentleman has told me since, that he did so inadvertently, and not with deliberate intention, and therefore I withdraw my imputation of unfairness. I shall not detain honorable members by dealing with this matter at length, because we all know what the question at stake really is. The attitude I take is that the Government are asking Parliament to add as a permanent increase to the salary of the Secretary to the AttorneyGeneral the sum of £50, because an allowance of that amount was voted for him last year, as a reward for the extra duties imposed upon him by the length of the session. The sum in question is not a large one, but I object to the increase on principle.

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