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Friday, 20 August 1920

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN (EdenMonaro) . - I wish to ask the Treasurer who is responsible for the delay "in the distribution of war trophies. I would point out to the right honorable gentleman, who is taking a deep interest in the floating of the Second Peace Loan, that the delay in distributing war trophies is really retarding subscriptions. In many centres in mv own district, the people are saying, "What we have done is ignored. We sent dozens of men to the Front, and many of them lie buried in France to-day. We have subscribed thousands to the War Loans, and the First Peace Loan, and yet. when we apply for a war trophy for this district, we areignored." The people of Bega, Berry, and many other towns are dissatisfied, and want to know when they are to receive the war trophies for which they have applied.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - If the honorable member will only sit down, I will give him an 80-ton gun.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN - It is all very well for the right honorable gentleman to tell me to sit down; but my constituents have rights, and if we do not get satisfaction something may happen to the Government that they will not like. Last night we had a confession by the Government that, as a result of their bungling administration of the Department of Trade and Customs, £1,000,000 had been lost. The Treasurer tells us that the Government cannot afford to increase the invalid and old-age pensions, although the present rate is not sufficient to keep body and soul together. That £1,000,000, if saved, would have enabled an extra 5s. per week to be paid during the next twelve months. Administration of this kind calls for a protest, and I shall speak and vote in a way that will cause some alteration to be made. Where is the gun that was promised to Bega? Then, the Postmaster-General, in answer to questions, is always telling us that the subjects inquired about are under consideration. He does not seem to pay any regard to the high prices that the small mail contractors are paying for fodder now, or the difficulties under which they suffer. It is time the Postmaster-General went over to New South Wales, and ceased climbing the Post Office tower in Melbourne, under the impression that from there he sees the world. He ought to travel and ascertain for himself what is going on in his Department; and I give him warning that next week I shall move the adjournment of the House, in order to discuss its administration. How many States in the Commonwealth has the Postmaster-General 'visited since he assumed office? It is time he realized that there are other States besides Victoria which require consideration.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - Give some of the other Departments a turn. now.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN - The Treasurer seems to be in a happy mood; but I tell him -that I am dissatisfied with the administration of more than one Department, and administration is nine points of the law. I do not hesitate to say that in some of the Departments the administration is rotten; at any rate, the Postal administration was never worse than it is to-day.

Mr Wise - It was worse when the honorable member himself was PostmasterGeneral.

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN - People did not then have to wait eighteen months for telephone installation, as I am told they have to do in Sydney to-day, although, at the same time, the Government are advertising telephones for sale by auction. I presume that the Victorian people are satisfied with the honorable gentleman's administration, seeing that we hear no complaints from them; but, however that may be, I shall give honorable members an opportunity to discuss these matters next week. As I say, I am dissatisfied with the distribution of war trophies, the delay in connexion with which is, I am sure, affecting the success of the Peace Loan. Everything now seems to becarried on by Committees and Commissions, and yet nothing is done.

Mr.RY AN (West Sydney) [4.0].- I wish to say a word or two, as a result of the attitude taken by the Assistant Minister for Defence (Sir Granville Eyrie) on two questions which I addressed to him to-day. I then stated that I had been reliably informed that on the 28th July last the Defence Department brought the Military Forces from Queenscliff and Swan Island to Melbourne, under arms, and with 9,000 rounds of ammunition.

Mr Lister - I think we ought to have a quorum. [Quorum formed.]

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