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number of registered electors which would be assigned to it is less than twenty. Each polling station shall be furnished with such number of compartments, in which the voters can mark their votes screened from observation, as the returning officer shall think necessary, so that at least one compartment be provided for every 150 electors entitled to vote at such polling station. At present the limit of one mile is confined to boroughs.
Extension of the Hours of Polling. 42. At every parliamentary and municipal election the poll (if any) shall commence at eight o'clock in the forenoon, and be kept open till ten o'clock in the afternoon of the same day and no longer.
By this extension of the hours of polling the scandal of turning away voters, without allowing them to record their votes, will be rendered almost impossible. There would be less excuse than at present for voters postponing voting till the last moment. The extension is also desirable to enable Jewish electors to poll on Saturdays after sunset.
Payment of Members. 43. At the end of each calendar month during the whole year, the Speaker of the House of Commons shall issue to every member of the House an order on the Paymaster-General for £25; provided that in no case shall this payment be made to a member who shall be in receipt of a salary or pension of £300 per annum, or more, paid out of public funds : provided also that where a member shall be in receipt of a salary or pension of less than £300 per annum, paid out of public funds, he shall only be entitled as a member of parliament to such payment as shall make the total sum paid to him out of public funds not more than £300 per annum : provided also that a proportionate sum shall be deducted from the monthly payment to each member for every day he is absent from parliamentary duties without leave of the House.
This deduction would be made whenever a member absented himself from the ordinary sittings of the House or of any Committee, without having first obtained the leave of the House. A rule already exists forbidding absence without such leave.
Free Travelling for Members. 44. Every member of the House of Commons shall be provided by the Speaker, at the commencement of each parliament, with a free railway, steamboat, and mail coach pass of the first class, which shall entitle him to travel without payment, by any railway, steamboat, or coach carrying passengers in Great Britain and Ireland. No payment shall be made to any railway company, or to the owner of any steamboat or coach in respect of the provisions of this clause.
The proposal to pay members of parliament is not an untried and newfangled innovation, but a reversion to old constitutional custom, both in England and Scotland. “ The custom began,” says Dr. Henry in his work,
“Great Britain," "with the commencement of Representation from a principle of common equitr." In Scotland, the payment was made in accordance with the terms of a statute dated 1427, which has been preserved, and is supposed to have been copied from an English statute that has been lost. Professor Thorold Rogers says that in the reign of Edward I. “the member of parliament had daily wages; the knights or county members receiving more—the amount is not invariable-than the burgesses. When the Parliament was prorogued or dismissed, the wiits for payment were made out, and the time during which the House sat exactly calculated.” A judgment of Lord Chancellor Nottingham after the dissolution of Parliament in 1681 proves that the payment was not merely a voluntary contribution by the constituencies. Thomas King, M.P. for Harwich, presented a petition stating " that he had served as burgesse in Parliament for the said borrough severall yeares, and did give his constant attendance therein; but that the said borrough' had not paid him his wages, though often requested so to do.” Notice being given to the Corporation of Harwich, and the facts being verified, a writ was ordered to be issued, de expensis burgensium levandis. This was probably the last order so made. “I know no reason," said Lord Campbell, commenting on this judgment, "in point of law, why any member may not insist on payment of his wages. For this point in the People's Charter-payment of wages-no new law is required.” An Act of 1541 made the payment of wages depend upon attendance in the House throughout the whole session. Payment of members is required to enable constituencies to freely choose their representatives, to give the public complete control over them, and compel them to perform their duties with diligence and efficiency. The poor candidate would thus be put upon an equality with the richest. An equitable and convenient adjustment of burdens is made by the payment of members out of the state, and the election expenses out of the local exchequers. Payment of members is the law in almost every couutry where representative government prevails. A Table of existing laws on the subject will be found on page 18.
Triennial Parliaments. 45. The present and succeeding parliaments shall have continuance for three years and no longer, to be accounted from the day on which by the writ of summons the parliament shall be appointed to meet, unless this present or any parliament hereafter to be summoned shall be sooner dissolved.
Prior to the Revolution of 1688, with the exception of a few years during the Commonwealth, the duration of parliaments was entirely within the control of the Sovereign. One of the parliaments of Charles II. sat eighteen years. The Triennial Act was passed in 1694. Its preamble declares “that frequent and new parliaments tend very much to the happy union and good agreement of King and people.” The Septennial Act, one of the earliest measures of the first parliament of George I., was nominally based on a desire to relieve the country of the “grievous and burdensome" expense of elections, and also from the violent and lasting heats and animosities among the subjects of the realm,” but was really aimed at the “ restless and Popish faction, which was “designing and endeavouring to renew the Rebellion within this Kingdom and an invasion from abroad." The dangers of 1714 have passed away, and the Septennial Act should therefore have been repealed more than a century and a half ago, but all attempts at repeal have been unsuccessful. The reversion to Triennial Parliaments is the least reform that can be accepted, and perhaps combines most of the advantages of Annual Parliaments without their drawbacks.
Members of the House of Representatives in the United States are elected only for two years. The members of the Lower Houses in Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland are elected for three years, as are also those of Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, and New Zealand. For other countries see the table on the next page.
The precedents quoted in this tract may be found in the following authorities :
“Summary of the Constitution and Procedure of Foreign Parliaments ; compiled by Reginald Dickinson, one of the Committee Clerks of the House of Commons, from reports respecting the Practice and Regulations of Legislative Assemblies in Foreign Countries, presented to Parliament in 1881 ;
“Problems of Greater Britain,” by Sir Charles Dilke.
"Constitutional History of England,” by Sir T. Erskine May (Lord Farnborough)
“Lives of the Lord Chancellors," by Lord Campbell.
“The Government Year Book," by Lewis Sergeant.
Table of existing Laws as to payment of Members of Legislatures.
The duration of the Legislatures is given in the first column.
PAYMENT TO MEMBERS OF LEGISLATURE.
Members of the Delegations, which
meet away from home, receive
ceive about 128. per day.
monthly during Session, unless per-
Session. Paid Monthly.
and constituencies at opening and close of session.
Senators and Deputies receive 9,000 Travelling expenses are
francs (£360) a year. Simple censur paid to all Colonial
Members of the Imperial Parliament Free railway travelling
are not paid ; but in the Prussian during session.
receive £1 per day.
for each ordinary Session. Special
All Members of the States General are 75 cents per hour of trapaid
vel for each sesion. 1st Chamber 8 florins a day.
2nd Chamber, 2,000 forins a year.
13s. 4d. a day during Session of three
Members receive £1 per day.
Deputies receive 100,000 reis (€22) a
month during Session.
PAYMENT TO MEMBERS OF LEGISLATURE.
Members of the Lower Chamber re- Travelling expenses.
ceive 1,200 kroner (£66 13s. 4d ) for
ceive 61s. a day during Session. (24d. a mile) trav, l. No payment during absence.
ling expenses. Senators, Representatives, and Dele- 20 cents. a mile for tiagates receive $5,000 (£1,000) per velling, once per sesPaid monthly.
sion each way, from
the two Houses of the Legislature
receive 8s. for each day's attendance. $6, or £1 58. a day to Members of both 10 cents. a mile travel
Houses, provided Session does not ling expenses, once a exceed 30 days. If it exceeds 30 d.ys session, from resi. the allowance is $600 (£120)a Session. dence to place of sesDeduction of $5 a day for absence. sion.
Members are not paid.
Members residing over
two miles from the Council Chamber receive £1 a day travel. ling allowance.
New Zealand .. £l a day during Session, subject to Free travelling to and 3 years actual attendance. No payment
from Parliament. under this head to the Speaker, Chairman, Ministers, or Members residing in the town where the Legis
lature meets, or within 15 miles of it. Newfoundland .. Legislative Council, President, $240 4 years per Session,
í Members, $120 House of Assembly, Speaker .. $323 Members (Outpost)
$300 Members (Capital)
$200 Deduction for Non-Attendance.
Wales .. 3 years
By an Act passed in 1889, Members
South Australia . £200 a year to Jembers of both Houses
not in receipt of official salaries. Queensland £2 28. for each day's attendance, not to Travelling allowance. 5 years
exceed £200 a year. Victoria
£300 a year to Members not in receipt
of official salary.