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Friday, 7 May 1920

Mr WEST (East Sydney) .- Of its kind, there is probably no more important measure requiring the attention of this House. The status of the AuditorGeneral should be unquestioned, for he is the most important officer in the service of the country. He is, or. should be, above Ministers. The only people . whom the Auditor-General should know are the members of this Parliament.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - I agree.

Mr WEST - I would like the Government to make provision in order to place it beyond doubt that no Minister shall wield any influence or control over the Auditor-General. He should be the nominator of his own staff.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - I certainly think he ought to be consulted in regard to appointments to his staff.

Mr WEST - I would like to obtain leave to continue my remarks at a later date, when I expect to have more data before me.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - I shall take care that the honorable member is not restricted in any way, if he will now agree to the second reading being carried.

WEST. - Why is the Bill being rushed through?

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - No such endeavour is being made.I intend to put before honorable members the original provisions and the amending clauses, so that they may be compared, and honorable members thus will be placed in a better position to consider the whole matter..

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Motion (by Sir Joseph Cook) agreed to-

That Mr. Bamford do take the chair in Committee of the whole this day.

In Committee:

Clause 1 agreed to.

Progress reported.

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