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Tuesday, 23 May 1939

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - In the reply which he gave just now, did the Minister for Social Services endeavour to convey that the Government was committed to accept any policy "recommended by the select committee to be appointed to inquire into national insurance?

Sir FREDERICK STEWART - The Government knows its responsibilities in this matter, and will assume full responsibility for any action it may take.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - What useful purpose can be served by referring a. matter to a select committee when the Government's policy is already known and its mind on the matter is already made up?

Sir FREDERICK STEWART -. Presumably the honorable gentleman is referring to a hope which I personally expressed in regard to national insurance. Obviously, the Government would need to have before it any recommendation that mightbemadebyaselect committee before it could finally decide its policy on the matter.

Mr ANTHONY - I point out that the Minister for Social Services, in replying to one of my previous questions, did not answer, my query as to how, in view of the indeterminate attitude of the Government in relation to national insurance, the large staff at present attached to the National Insurance Commission is being employed.

Sir FREDERICK STEWART - I apologize for having failed to answer that part of the honorable member's question. As a matter of fact, there is not a large staff attached to my department in connexion with national insurance. Most of the officers who were engaged by the commission have been seconded to other departments, including two members of the commission itself. That policy will be continued, sufficient staff being maintained to deal with matters affecting the commission as they arise.

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