I do not know if it is necessary to say much on this motion. I presume Senators have studied the scheme and made up their minds about it. There have been proposals for such a scheme over the past 20 to 30 years. It was necessary to give some form of legis lative authority for such scheme. That was done in the Bill dealing with the remuneration and allowances for Ministers, Deputies and Senators. Such a scheme is in operation in other countries and it seems desirable that we should have one here.
When the Bill dealing with allowances for Ministers, Deputies and Senators was enacted, the two Committees on Procedure and Privileges set up an informal Joint Committee to draw up a scheme. In the end, they succeeded in drawing up what seemed an acceptable scheme. It is entirely a contributory scheme. Deputies and Senators will make their contributions to the scheme and will not ask for any help whatever from the State. It is a compulsory scheme if passed by both Houses, that is, the contribution will be deducted from the source, from allowances paid to both Deputies and Senators, and, as the scheme lays down, any Deputy or Senator who will have served 10 years when the scheme comes into operation and who leaves either House will be eligible for a pension at the rate of one-sixtieth for every year's service.
There is one clause which has perhaps given rise to some misunderstanding, that is, the clause which refers to a retiring Deputy or Senator who has a pension from some other source, out of public moneys. That will apply only to a person retiring who has a pension from Government funds and will apply, in particular, of course, in the case of a Minister or a Parliamentary Secretary. As far as Ministers or Parliamentary Secretaries are concerned, they could benefit to some extent from this scheme but not to the full extent to which a Deputy or Senator who is not a Minister or Parliamentary Secretary could benefit. It sets the limit of £1,000 from all sources as being as much as he can draw.
A scheme like this is extremely difficult on which to get any sort of actuarial opinion. We did have an actuary working on it and he gave us his opinion. I should like to say that according to his opinion, it is doubtful if the scheme will be solvent as the years go on, but there is provision in this scheme that it can be amended as time goes on, either by increasing the contributions or by lowering the allowances. Of course if we take the more optimistic view, perhaps it may work better than expected and we might be able to reduce the contributions as time goes on, but there is provision for amending it either up or down in the light of experience.
I do not think there is anything else of any importance in the scheme. The fund will be managed, as set out here, by three trustees, the Chairman of each House and the Minister for Finance. They, of course, will have a very formal duty to perform, that is, to invest the funds. They will not be called upon to decide who shall get a pension or how much he shall get. All that is laid down here and their only function will be to invest the funds to the best of their ability so that they may earn whatever money may be earned from a safe investment. In conclusion, I should like to say that the Committee who worked so hard for some time on this scheme and who succeeded in producing this scheme which appears to have general approval deserve our very best thanks.