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Wednesday, 21 October 1903

Mr THOMSON (North Sydney) - I do not agree that the proposal of the Prime Minister aims at placing Mr. Speaker upon the same footing as the President of the Senate. I am not aware that when the President ceases to be a Member of Parliament he will continue to draw his salary.

Mr Deakin - He does not cease to hold office till the 31st December in any year. The Senate elections take place before that date, and his next term of office commences upon the 1st January.

Mr THOMSON - But if the President should cease to be a member of the Senate his salary would not be paid.

Mr Deakin - Exactly. This provision will apply only if Mr. Speaker is again returned.

Mr THOMSON - Personally, I am not in favour of Mr. Speaker receiving salary after he has really ceased to be a Member of Parliament.

Mr Deakin - Mr. Speaker would not receive his salary as a Member of Parliament, but only in his capacity as Speaker.

Mr THOMSON - But his occupancy of the Speakership depends upon whether he is a Member of Parliament.

Mr Kingston - Surely he may discharge his duties until his successor is appointed.

Mr THOMSON - He may discharge the duties which have to be performed. These are not very great during the recess, and as we are establishing a precedent, I certainly think it would be better that any such emoluments should be discontinued when the Speaker ceases to be a Member of Parliament.

Mr Kingston - That would make Mr. Speaker's emoluments less than those of the President.

Mr THOMSON - That is the fault of the Constitution. If we consider that Mr. Speaker should receive a higher salary than does the President of the Senate, let us make provision for its payment upon the Estimates. Like any other honorable member, I have some diffidence in opposing what would constitute an advantage to an honoured officer of this House ; but, believing that it is far better that we should endeavour to avoid overreaching the Constitution by side methods-

Mr Deakin - The practice exists in two States at least.

Mr THOMSON - That may be so ; but I do not approve of it for that reason. We should recognise that Mr. Speaker is Speaker only because he is a Member of Parliament, and when he ceases to be a member his remuneration as Speaker should be discontinued.

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