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Wednesday, 4 May 1932

Clause 7 -

Section 15 of the principal act is amended by omitting from sub-section 5 the words " refund those moneys, and any refund so made shall, as between the person making the deposit and the State, be deemed to have been made by the State " and inserting in their stead the words ", if he thinks fit, deal with the moneys in the prescibed manner, and the payment of such moneys as prescribed shall be a good discharge to the Commonwealth of all claims in respect of those moneys ".

Mr.ROSEVEAR (Dalley) [9.10].-I understand that in putting the principal act into operation, the Government has already discovered that it has made a grievous blunder. Sub-section 5 of section 15 states -

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, if the Treasurer is satisfied -

(a)   that any moneys paid to him or to an authorized person in pursuance of this section include moneys deposited by any person as security for the supply of goods, the performance of services or the carrying out of any work; and

(b)   that the conditions on which the moneys were deposited have been fulfilled, the Treasurer may refund those moneys, and any refund so made shall, as between the person making the deposit and the State, be deemed to have been made by the State.

The Government, in its anxiety to seize New South Wales revenue by any and every means, has taken possession of moneys in banks in New South Wales that are not covered by resolutions of this Parliament. For days I have been endeavouring to secure from the Prime Minister details of the New South Wales Government bank deposits which were seized by the Commonwealth, but which were not the property of that Government. I refer to such sums as those deposited by contractors as a guarantee of good faith, or deposited on behalf of various State Government funds. These moneys even include deposits from the police courts of money paid as bail security, which by no stretch of the imagination can be regarded as the property of the State Government. These sums have been indiscriminately seized by the Commonwealth Government. Under the principal act, if the Treasurer was satisfied that the conditions under which the moneys had been deposited had been fulfilled, he could, at his discretion, refund them, and. it would be considered that the State Government had met its obligations to those depositors; but I believe that the Government realizes that despite the fact that the act has been declared by the High Court to be valid, it has acted illegally and unconstitutionally in seizing moneys which are not revenues covered by resolutions of this Parliament. The Commonwealth Government now seeks to indemnify itself against possible action by these depositors. If the Government is so anxious to observe the law, why is it taking this action to indemnify itself against the consequences of illegally seizing the money of depositors? The Commonwealth should be content to attach moneys covered by the resolutions passed through Parliament. I have no doubt that this clause will be agreed to, because the supporters of the Government will vote for it as slavishly as they have voted for all the other provisions of the enforcement legislation.

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