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Friday, 22 June 1906

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I wish to take _ this opportunity of saying that I believe the opinion of a great many Members of Parliament in each branch of the Legislature, I think I may say of the Parliament as a whole, is that it is extremely desirable that the parliamentary refreshment-rooms1 should be made to pay. Members of Parliament do not wish to have a deficiency which the country is called upon to make good. It is one of those very unpleasant things which create an entirely wrong impression outside, and lead the public to believe that Members of this Parliament are getting perquisites to which they are not entitled. I believe that every Member of Parliament ought to pay for what he gets at the refreshment-rooms, and I welcome the announcement that the House Committee is endeavouring to devise means to make them self-supporting.

Senator de Largie - Is there a parliamentary refreshment-room in Australia that is self -supporting?

Senator MILLEN - I do not know. But I would sooner see the tariff of charges increased than have a deficiency in the accounts of the parliamentary refreshmentrooms, with the result that an impression gets abroad that the members of this Parliament are getting something '.a which they have no right.

Senator Givens - They can get nothing here for which they do not pay.

Senator MILLEN - I am quite aware of that.

Senator Givens - And they pay more than they would outside.

Senator MILLEN - I do not wish to be misunderstood. Perhaps, for the moment, I forgot that ray words will be reproduced where my meaning will not be apparent. Therefore, I wish to say quite clearly that no one in this Parliament obtains anything at the parliamentary refreshment-rooms for which he does not pay, and that, in fact, he pays more here than he would have to do outside. Nevertheless, the fact remains that there is a deficiency which the taxpayers have to make good. I recognise gladly that the House Committee is addressing itself seriously to the task, and if no other means can be devised, I suggest that the tariff should be raised until the rooms are enabled to be carried on without loss.

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