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Thursday, 29 October 1931

Mr LATHAM (Kooyong) . -I do not propose to raise any objection to the bill, but I wish to place on record my opinion that, as a general rule, a bill in this form ought not to be accepted by the House. I regard this bill as an exception. It provides that " there shall be payable out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which is hereby appropriated accordingly, for the purpose of expenditure on prescribed works to provide relief to persons out of employment, the sum of £250,000". That means that the works are to be determined by the Government, and the House has no opportunity of discussing the expenditure of the money. Regulations may be made by the Governor-General under the bill, but the practice adopted by this Government of refusing to pay any attention to the disallowance of a regulation by one chamber, if the Government does not agree with the disallowance, makes the provision as to regulations entirely useless and nugatory. Accordingly, by this bill, the House is asked to give authority to the Government to spend this money as it thinks proper, and £250,000 is a large sum. If the money were not intended for what I am satisfied, on the statements of the Prime Minister (Mr. Scullin) and the Treasurer (Mr. Theodore), will be a series of relatively small expenditures on relief works, I would object to the bill on account of its form, in order to preserve the general rights of honorable members in relation to the methods to be followed in theexpenditure of public moneys.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In committee:

The bill.

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