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Tuesday, 23 June 1903

Mr O'MALLEY (Tasmania) - I do not desire to enter into this question very seriously after the debate of a legal character which we have had to-night ; but I wish to say that I cannot see that the Chief Justice will have much more work to do than the other Judges. Therefore, if we reduce the salary of the Chief Justice to £3,000, we should fix the salaries of the other Judges at £3,000 also. We have not yet fixed the number of Judges, but I am taking it for granted that there will be three. We ought not to be too penurious about this matter, because justice is cheap at any cost. Justice is something wherein the height of extravagance may be the essence of economy. Therefore, I shall be perfectly willing to pay £3,000 per annum to each of three Judges. It is nonsense to argue that we must pay £3,500 to our Chief Justice because a State has done so. That is a ridiculous way of looking at the matter. What have we to do with the States? The States can vote what they like. The State of Victoria gave for years £10,000 a year to her Governor, and borrowed the money with which to pay it. That is economy from the Victorian point of view. For years all the States borrowed the money with which to pay high salaries. But the Commonwealth must live within its own means. The Commonwealth has 'already given back to the States a surplus greater than it is required to do under the Constitution, to enable them to pay their way. I shall vote, not because the States pay their Judges £3,500, or £10,000 or whatever it may be, but because I consider a certain sum to be a proper amount to pay the Judges of the High Court of Australia. The honorable and learned member for Werriwa has said that in the State of New York the Judges are paid £3,500 a year.

There are no pensions attached to those positions.

Mr Page - How much do they make besides ?

Mr O'MALLEY - I have heard a good deal about corruption among the Judges in America, but my experience is that law and justice in the United States are as pure as in any part of the world. I received far more even-handed justice while I was living in the United States than I got in "South Australia at the. hands of one of the Judges of the Supreme Court there.

Mr Poynton - The honorable member won his case there.

Mr O'MALLEY - Yes, I won it; and I got forty "bob" for my character. Ian: perfectly willing to tell the truth, though some honorable members would be afraid to get up and say how much their characters are considered to be worth. The point to bear in mind is that we have nothing whatever to do with what the States pay. It is a pity that the States do not abolish their useless tinselled Governors, and make the Chief Justices take their place. If they did they could save a lot more money; and if the Kyabramapootrahs and the gildedspurred roosters would begin to crow in that line it would be far better for the States. I am talking of the Deform Leagues of this country, which have their paid agitators, who say that we are extravagant, while the States will pay any price for a jamboree or' a fandango. I intend to vote against the honorable member's amendment, with a view ' of supporting the payment to all the Judges of a salary of £3,000 a year.

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