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Wednesday, 9 March 1932

Mr WARD (East Sydney) .- The Assistant Treasurer (Mr. Bruce) has said that some of the States would be seriously embarrassed if they were required to hand over immediately the deposits lodged with them by insurance companies. The suggestion is that if they were required to do so, they would have to repudiate the obligation. It is all very well to say that the deposits are represented by State securities, but the fact remains that the money has been spent by the State Governments for their own purposes. That is why the Treasurer is to be allowed to enforce the repayment of this money or not as he thinks fit. The Assistant Treasurer has said that it would embarrass some of the States if they had to refund insurance deposits. That is true, and the determination of the Commonwealth Government to enforce the provisions of the Financial Agreement against New South Wales is embarrassing that State. The other States would also be embarrassed if they were treated as this Government proposes to treat New

South Wales. It is clear that this bill has been introduced in a vindictive spirit, and represents a continuation of the Government's policy against New South Wales. If the Acting Treasurer were consistent he would strike out the words "when so required by the Treasurer," and make it obligatory on every State to refund deposits. If he did that many honorable members on the opposite side of the House would vote against the Government, or, at any rate, would be absent suffering from a convenient illness when the vote was taken. It is remarkable that the Commonwealth Government had no desire to protect the interests of policy-holders until the Government of New South Wales introduced a measure for that purpose. Now this bill must be rushed through with all urgency. The Treasurer, according to the bill, is to be allowed at his discretion to require States to refund deposits, and it must be clear to every thinking person that the discretion which will be exercised by the Assistant Treasurer will be exercised against the present Government of New South Wales.

Question - That the sub-clauses proposed to be omitted (Mr. Beasley's amendment) stand part of the clause - put.

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