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Thursday, 26 November 1959

Mr BLAND (WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - On behalf of the Public Accounts Committee, I bring up the following report: -

Forty-fourth Report of the Joint Committee ot Public Accounts presenting Treasury Minutes on the Twenty-fifth, Twenty-sixth, Twentyeighth, Thirty-second, Thirty-third and Fortieth Reports - together with summaries of those reports, and move -

That the report be printed.

I want to add just a few brief remarks. I should have liked to talk longer on this matter, but the time has gone quickly this morning. This report recounts the action taken by the committee to prevent its reports, after tabling, f om being pigeonholed and forgotten. Last week, I reminded the House that each report of the committee is sent to the Treasurer, who undertakes to discuss with the departments concerned the action they propose to take to give effect to the comments and recommendations made by the committee. When the Treasury receives the departmental comments it prepares a minute, which it sends to the committee, which in turn submits the minute to the Parliament. This morning there are six Treasury minutes of the type mentioned, dealing with the committee's recommendations, together with a summary of the committee's reports which we have prepared for the information and convenience of the honorable members.

In the main, Sir, we have discouraged debate on these reports immediately after they have been presented. We felt that there was missing a lot of essential evidence that ought to be available if the House were to be able to debate a report with some degree of satisfaction. Now we have in this case all the material available for a debate. For example, we have the report of the committee, the evidence taken by the committee, the documents and various exhibits submitted to the committee in support of the evidence, the six minutes of the Treasury, and our comments on those minutes. So there is available a mass of material which would make possible a really intelligent debate on the activities of the committee.

I could not help thinking, when I was reading through this report this morning, that even the most caustic critic of administrative inertia could not fail to be impressed by the imposing list of reforms and economies that have flowed from the activities of the committee, as shown in the Treasury minutes in this report.

Ordered to be printed.

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