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Tuesday, 22 September 1942

Sir FREDERICK STEWART (Parramatta) . - I share the inquisitiveness of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Fadden) about the increase of £S,000 in the proposed vote for the Census and Statistics branch, and seek an explanation of it. Had it not been for the substantial increase of £6,000 in reimbursements to this branch from war services the increase would have been £14,000. I was under the impression, as, I believe, were other honorable members, that a good deal of the work of this office had been set aside owing to war conditions. For example, preparatory work in connexion with the taking of the periodical census has been entirely discontinued. Another item in which additional expenditure has been incurred relates to salaries of temporary and casual employees, the increase being about £8,000. Is it not a fact that the Commonwealth Statistician has been seconded for war work and that the services of State officers are being used temporarily? There is also an inexplicable increase from £6,000 to £10,000 under the heading " Hire, service and maintenance of machines for tabulation of trade and other statistics ". I know that some wonderful machines are used in this branch, but a great many of them would be required, surely, to justify an expenditure of £10,000.

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