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Tuesday, 1 October 1935


Mr FISKEN (Ballarat) .- The remarks of honorable members opposite impel me to speak on this measure. Examining the bill from a general point of view I agree with the arguments advanced by honorable members on this side of the House, that the Prime Minister should not have to undertake the administration of any department other than his own. In spite of the jeers of the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Lazzarini) on this point, it is an undoubted fact that ministerial duties take their toll so far as the health of Ministers is concerned. An instance of this is seen in the unfortunate experience of the right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin), who has had to relinquish his position as Leader of the Opposition. I think it will be generally agreed that the strain of his duties when lie was Prime Minister has been the main cause of the present state of his health.

A question was directed to-day to the Prime Minister with regard to remarks made to the honorable the AttorneyGeneral (Mr. Menzies) during the weekend, in Sydney, when he expressed, privately, the opinion that the work of Ministers- was so arduous that an inner Cabinet within the Ministry should be constituted. When a man of the experience of the Attorney-General advances such an idea, I think it is convincing evidence that present Ministers have too much work. On these grounds I support the allocation of an extra portfolio-.

The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R, Green) stated that he proposed to vote against this bill mainly on the ground, apparently, that the Minister directing negotiations for trade treaties (Sir Henry Gullett) was overseas instead of being in his place in this House. I regret that the honorable member for Richmond is not in his seat at present, but I ask where would one expect a Minister negotiating trade treaties to be. Surely he must go to those countries with whom Australia desires to negotiate treaties. The honorable member for Richmond said he could see no results from that Minister's work and in any case doubted whether such work should be continued. Honorable members will agree that it is generally recognized throughout the world that the trade of the world must again be set going. The best way to achieve that aim is through bilateral trade treaties. I do not agree that such treaties should be for a long term; they should be negotiated for a. short term. In that way will the trade of the world again be restored to its former volume. There is, however, no way of negotiating treaties other than by sending representatives to the countries with which we desire to negotiate.

The honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) criticized the Government with regard to the expenditure incurred on the delegation which recently journeyed overseas. I was interested to learn that it amounted to approximately £16,000. 1 point out that to-day is sheep sale day in Melbourne and that approximately 70,000 lambs will bo offered-


Mr SPEAKER - Order ! The work of the overseas delegation cannot be discussed under this measure.


Mr FISKEN - I support the bill. The increased cost involved is well justified.







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