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Tuesday, 3 May 1932

Mr FENTON (Maribyrnong) (PostmasterGeneral) . - I am surprised that honorable members should seek to limit parliamentary control, through the Government, of the financial operations of the commission. Apart from the illustrations of extravagance and inefficiency mentioned by the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) earlier to-day, I have a lively recollection of the failure of the first War Service Homes Commission. It involved the Commonwealth in serious losses, which would have been even greater but for the intervention of the Public Accounts Committee. In that' instance, an inefficient commission was not sufficiently under the control of Parliament. On behalf of the Government, I assure the committee that the commission to control broadcasting will consist of four men and, probably, one women - the most qualified that are available in Australia and the proposed limitation on the expenditure is £5,000. There should be no objection to that, because the Treasurer, who conducts the financial operations of the Government, will be consulted in regard to all financial transactions, and in a matter of this kind no Minister would agree to any expenditure without first consulting his colleagues in the Cabinet. When we ar.e delegating certain duties to the commission, it is only right that there should be a certain oversight of its operations, particularly financial operations. I hope that the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Nairn) will not persist with his amendment. This is one of the safety clauses in the bill. It does not entirely limit the operations of the commission, nor does it dispense with ministerial or governmental responsibility.

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