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Thursday, 23 November 1905

Senator GUTHRIE - If each senator had a servant to take his luggage to the train he would not want a cab.

Senator Sir Richard Baker - I pay for it.

Senator GUTHRIE - We are asked to vote an item of ,£204 for a servant to meet the President at the train, and to take his luggage ito and fro instead of its being taken in a cab. Only £50 is required to provide cabs for thirty-six senators, but £204 is required for taking the President's luggage to and from the train.

Senator O'Keefe - No; that is for the servant's salary.

Senator GUTHRIE - That is the salary for a servant who takes the President's luggage to and from the train.

Senator Keating - But he . has other things to do.

Senator GUTHRIE - Provision is made bv the Senate for the President's luggage to be taken to and from the train, yet he says that if he is called upon to forego the sum of £10 10s. he will vote against the whole item, and thus take a convenience away from honorable senators who are in an exactly similar position on Friday afternoon. It was injudicious for Senator Baker to say that the expenditure is a small one. I should not care if the provision were abolished, because I could get Mayne, Nickless, and Company to collect my luggage at a cost of a few shillings a week. We now have a guarantee that our luggage will ar rive at the station in ample time, and be safeguarded by a servant of the Senate. That is a great satisfaction to every one. I do not raise any objection to the President of the Senate having extra accommodation in the train- The position is a high and honorable one, and if Senator Baker thinks it is necessary to maintain that position by having a compartment to himself it is for the Senate to say whether it will sanction the expenditure. If Senator Baker thinks that it enhances his position as President to have this accommodation, I am prepared to vote the money.

Senator Best - In what way could it add to the dignity of his position?

Senator GUTHRIE - If Senator Baker says that the accommodation is necessary for the President of the Senate I am prepared to vote the money.

Senator Sir William Zeal - But the Speaker of the other House does not think that it is necessary.

Senator GUTHRIE - I have travelled on other lines than that between Melbourne and Adelaide, and I know that Ministers have each occupied a compartment. Whether they paid for the extra berth or not I do not know.

Senator Clemons - That makes all the difference in the world.

Senator GUTHRIE - -We have no right to impose upon the 'State Government. If the compartment were occupied by two persons there would be two full fares instead of two sleeping-berth fares to be paid to the State. Very often the railway officials are obliged to make provision outside the sleeping-berths for the members of this Parliament, and to refuse to take passengers who want sleeping-berths. I have known several cases where persons have refrained from travelling on particular days because they could not get sleeping-berths.

Senator Staniforth Smith - Does the honorable senator object to the President paying for an extra berth for himself?

Senator GUTHRIE - NO; but it is a serious matter to the State, which has to make a profit out of the railways, when it is deprived of a full fare. Even though it is a Minister who occupies the compartment and pays 12s. "6d. for a sleeping-berth, he does not pav the full fare.

Senator Sir JOSIAH Symon - That is a matter for the State. If it does not like to let the berth it need not do so.

Senator GUTHRIE - Exactly ; but I do not think it is our contract with the

State. If the State likes to say to the President, " You can occupy a compartment," that is its affair. I do not intend to oppose the vote of £10 10s., but I strongly object to the insinuation that any concession is given to honorable senators in the taking of their luggage to the trains on a Friday afternoon.

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