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Thursday, 10 March 1932

Mr BEASLEY (West Sydney) . - I do not wish tocast any reflection on the members of the previous committee who still remain in this chamber, but the inference of the Prime Minister that those honorable members, if appointed to the new committee, will express the same opinions as they expressed when they were members of the original committee, is, I think, rather far-fetched. Many changes, particularly in political opinion, have taken place since the Public Accounts Committee functioned, and it is only logical to assume that the members of that committee who have changed their political party now hold opinions entirely different from those which they expressed previously. That has already been amply demonstrated, and needs no amplification by me. For instance, the political opinions of the honorable member for Bass have undergone a considerable change.

Mr Francis - The honorable member for Bass belonged to the official Opposition when the inquiry began, so that his opinions have not since changed.

Mr BEASLEY - I submit that the honorable member for Bass has changed his opinions with regard to many matters since the inquiry began.

Mr Gabb - The subject on which the committee is to report relates to procedure in finance rather than to politics.

Mr BEASLEY - That is all very well for the honorable member for Angas, who takes a " broad national view " of everything, and who can find comfort in any circumstances by sailing under that flag. The mere collection of evidence by a committee is only of secondary importance. The important factor is the determination that will be embodied in the committee's report. I consider that human nature is swayed by political convictions. That can be proved even in regard to the findings of judicial tribunals. If the personnel of this committee is allowed to remain as suggested, its findings will be lopsided, and I advise the Government, if it really desires the conclusions of the committee to be received with general respect, to see that all sides of political opinion are represented.

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