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Thursday, 23 November 1905

Senator HENDERSON (Western Australia) - I quite agree with Senator Symon in the opinions he has expressed about providing a double berth for one man. I do not think there is any fairness in that, no matter what position the man may occupy. I do not know that I should approve of the Governor-General having a berth more than myself. I think that every man should be equal in that respect.

Senator Clemons - He is entitled to it if he pays for it.

Senator HENDERSON - If he pays for them, let him have sixteen; but I do not think he is entitled to have two berths provided for him when I have only one.

I quite agree that the practice of providing two berths for one man should be abolished immediately. The question of the expenditure on cabs has not been fairly put to the Committee. Whether willfully or not, a false impression has been conveyed. It would lead one to believe that the money is expended to provide some luxury which honorable senators enjoy from time to time. That is the impression which would be conveyed to the public by Senator Clemons' remarks.

Senator Clemons - I have denied it half-a-dozen times. I know what the cabs are for.

Senator HENDERSON - I have 'Stated the impression conveyed by the honorable senator's speech. The cabs are employed on Fridays and Tuesdays, and it is possible that Senator Clemons has sometimes availed himself of the conveniences provided.

Senator Clemons - I pay my own expenses.

Senator HENDERSON - I am glad to hear that the honorable senator has plenty of money to enable him to do so. The position is that many honorable senators representing South Australia, New South Wales, and Tasmania live in the suburbs of Melbourne, and unless the convenience objected to was provided they would- on Friday mornings have to bring their bag and baggage from their residences to Parliament House, and on Friday afternoons carry them to the trains or the steamer. In view of the fact that we sometimes remain here until within a few minutes of the time the express trains leave Melbourne, it cannot be said to be unreasonable that cabs should be provided to collect their luggage and take it to the station.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Undoubtedly it is a convenience for the despatch of business on a Friday.

Senator HENDERSON - The cabs are provided to enable honorable senators' luggage to be collected, in order that they may remain at their posts here to within a few minutes of the time the trains leave for Sydney and Adelaide.

Senator Sir RICHARDBAKER (South Australia). - I would say that if the Committee think that I should not have this privilege extended to me I am quite willing to forego it. At the same time, I shall vote with Senator' Clemons, that the House of Representatives be requested to omit the whole item.

Senator Best - Why?

Senator Sir RICHARD BAKER - If travelling expenses are not paid to one honorable senator, why should they be paid to others ?

Senator Henderson - Why should one honorable senator have two berths?

Senator Sir RICHARD BAKER - Whyshould other honorable senators go in free cabs?

Senator Guthrie - They do not.

Senator Sir RICHARD BAKER - I . am quite willing that the whole system should be abolished. If it is not to be abolished, I would ask Senator Clemons not to move a request for any reduction, because the cabs will take up the whole ^50.

Senator Clemons - I shall' move a reduction.

Senator Playford - The money has nearly all been spent.

Senator Clemons - I do not care if it has been spent forty times over.

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