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Wednesday, 29 June 1938

Mr CURTIN (Fremantle) . - I do not intend to oppose the bill, although I think the interests of propriety would be served if at least a day were allowed to elapse between the introduction of a bill by the Minister and the resumption of the debate. I fear that the exclusion of the word " annually " from section 16is going a little too far, for it may permit a Commonwealth Statistician to refrain from collecting statistical information in regard to "factories, mines and productive industries generally " even annually, if he so desired. That, of course, is not the intention ofthe Treasurer (Mr. Casey).

Mr Casey - The Commonwealth Statistician desires to collect information more frequently, at not more than quarterly intervals.

Mr CURTIN - I appreciate that fact. The amendment should be of such a nature as to make it clear that the information is to be collected at least annually.

Mr Casey - That would be quite satisfactory.

Mr CURTIN - Considerable reluctance is shown by certain interests to the supplying of the data which the Statistician requires. Under certain circumstances, some banking institutions may withhold information for, say, three years, unless an obligation rests upon them to provide it at least annually. I offer no objection whatever to the proposed amendment of section 17. I concur entirely in the Treasurer's commendation of the work of the Commonwealth Statistician and his officers. All the officers in the department from the highest to the lowest have always been eager to assist me, and I am sure that they have shown the same courtesy to other honorable members.

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