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Friday, 24 August 1906


Mr McLEAN (Gippsland) .- I do not wish to be hard upon the Minister, particularly if, as the honorable member for Maranoa has expressed it, " another bloke is on the job " ; but he should not be absent when a measure so important as this is under consideration. It is possible to spend money on bounties in such! a way that the expenditure will prove a great boon to the Commonwealth, while it is also possible to absolutely waste it, and to cause disappointment and loss to those who have been induced to enter into certain industries. If any measure has been submitted this session in regard to which we should have full information it is the Bill with which we are now dealing. The success of the proposed expenditure will depend entirely upon the scheme adopted for the distribution of the money which! we are asked to vote. We should know what machinery will be employed for carrying into effect the intentions of the Government, what supervision will be provided for, and have other! information of a Tike description. I presume that the Minister now in charge of the measure has not furnished us with this information because he is not in a position to do so, and I therefore suggest that the further consideration of the Bill be postponed until the Minister of Trade and Customs returns. It is treating Parliament with contempt, and likely to lower the institution in the estimation of the people, to ask us to blindly vote ^500,000 for bounties without giving us the slightest information as to how the money is to be spent, or the conditions which! will be imposed. We do not know whether the expenditure is to be supervised by a Commonwealth Department, or whether an arrangement is to be made with the States in regard to the matter.


Mr Watson - Many details must necessarily be left to regulation.


Mr McLEAN - Yes; but we have not even a skeleton scheme before us. I have not been unduly critical of Government proposals, and have supported such as I considered justifiable ; but I take so much interest in this matter, recognising its importance, that I cannot countenance the folly of voting money in the dark. It is due, not only to Parliament, but to the people who will have to provide the necessary funds, that an outline, at least, of the scheme under which the expenditure will take place shall be given to us.







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