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Thursday, 21 June 1906

Sir JOHN FORREST (Swan) (Treasurer) . - I move -

That a sum not exceeding£459,064 be granted to His Majesty for or towards defraying the services of the year ending 30th June, 1907.

Honorable members are aware that it is not necessary for the Government to ask for Supply at this particular juncture; but we do so to meet the views of those in another place, and I cannot conceive that any one can have any great objection to doing* now what will have to be done in a fortnight's time.

Mr Johnson - Urgent public business is being set aside to give the members of the other Chamber a holiday.

Sir JOHN FORREST - We are asking for Supply now to meet the wishes of the members of another place.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is only one month's Supply asked for?

Sir JOHN FORREST - Yes. It may, of course, be truly said that we do not require Supply until the beginning of next month : but there seems to be no good reason why we should not meet the wishes of the Senate in this matter.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - When is the right honorable gentleman likely to make his Budget speech?

Sir JOHN FORREST - I wish to make it as soon as possible; but it is difficult to make much progress before the financial year has ended; and while the Estimates may be ready within a fortnight or three weeks after the commencement of the new year, the Treasury officials will require at least another ten days in order to have the Budget papers prepared and printed in readiness for presentation with the Estimates to honorable members. I hope to be able to present the Estimates about the end of July or early in August, though I cannot give the exact date when I shall be able to do so. There are very few items in the Bill which I am about to introduce to which I need draw attention. Of these the first is an amount of £30,000, which is being asked for to cover the loss on the working of the Pacific cable. The exact sum required is not known, but, as the money must be paid in London, we wish to have it voted at the earliest moment possible, in order to make the best arrangements possible for exchange. £30,000 is also asked for as an instalment of the subsidy payable to the Orient Royal Mail Company on the 30th October next for the conveyance of mails between England and Australia. That money has to be remitted to London, and the longer the time we have in which to make arrangements the better the terms we can make for exchange. Then £6,660 is required to pay for the conveyance of Mem bers of Parliament, and £12,000 is required for refunds to the Pacific and Eastern Extension Telegraph companies in connexion with the cable services.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is there any item relating to the expense of the right honorable gentleman's trip to London ?

Sir JOHN FORREST - No. That trip did not entail any extraordinary expense on the Commonwealth. The sum of £80,000 is asked for as an advance to the Treasurer to enable him to pay wages, and other incidental expenses, and also payments in connexion with works authorized by Parliament last year, and now in progress. If there is any other item in regard to which honorable members desire information, I shall be only too glad to give it; but I can assure the Committee that the Bill provides only for expenditure similar to that which was approved of by Parliament last session.

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