A Bill to provide for the Payment of the Expenses incurred by Members of the Legislative Assembly in attending Parliament

Until 1886 the Queensland Legislative Assembly remained the preserve of only the most affluent members of society who could afford the expense and the time to attend parliamentary sessions. This situation acted as a barrier to representatives of the labour movement, the majority of whom were dependent on full-time employment. Another major hurdle was the electoral system, which disenfranchised men with no permanent place of residence.  The Liberal government led by Samuel Griffith addressed both issues in the mid-1880s. In 1884 Griffith introduced a Members’ Expenses Bill by which all members of the Legislative Assembly were entitled to receive £2/2s for each sitting they attended, with the amount limited to £200 per annum. Payment did not extend to travelling and accommodation expenses unless there was an adjournment during a session which extended beyond 30 days. The Bill faced considerable opposition, both within the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council, where members received no payment throughout the entire life of the Upper House. Griffith nevertheless persevered, and his Bill was finally passed in 1886. The previous year Griffith’s Election Act had enfranchised male citizens with no permanent residence, and with these two legislative actions it became possible for representatives of the labour movement to contest future elections.


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