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Tuesday, 23 June 1903

Mr WATSON (Bland) - I intend to vote for the proposal to grant pensions to the Justices of the High Court, because it seems to me that the reason which has been put forward by the Attorney-General and other honorable members who have spoken in support of it, are unanswerable, that it would not be wise for the Commonwealth to offer lower salaries or pensions than obtain in regard to the Judiciaries of the States. We desire to place the High Court of Australia upon such a footing that it will attract the best legal talent from the States. At the . same time, I cannot quite agree with the details of this pensions proposal. In the first place, I do not think it is the proper thing to give a pension to a Judge who has served only two years. And with regard to the proposal to give a Judge, after fifteen years' service, a pension equal to seven-tenths of his salary, I think it is, if anything, offering an inducement to a Judge who may feel a little lazy to retire.

Mr Glynn - We had better make the age 70 years, as in America.

Mr WATSON - I do not say what form the amendment should take, but there is a necessity to provide for some pensions. I think that the first step should be to move the omission of paragraph (a), which provides for a pension to a Judge who has served less than five years.

Sir Malcolm McEacharn - Only after disablement or permanent infirmity.

Mr WATSON - I do not see at present the necessity for giving a pension to a Judge who has served only a year or two years.

Mr Wilks - Make it start from ten years' service.

Mr WATSON - I think it ought to be done in some such way, but I should like to hear the Attorney-General's reasons for proposing to give a pension for less than five years' service.

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