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Wednesday, 6 May 1942

Mr CHIFLEY (Macquarie) (Treasurer) . - I desire to make it clear that what has been done in regard to the preparation of statistics and returns by the Commonwealth Bank is not a part of the Government's policy; it was done at the suggestion of the Commonwealth Bank Board itself. The bank board pointed out to me that over 1,600 members of its staff were in the fighting services. This represents about 43 per cent, of the male staff, and when those now being called up leave the service of the bank this figure will he increased to 55 per cent. It was explained to me that the preparation of yearly returns and half-yearly balance-sheets involved a tremendous amount of clerical work. The war has imposed additional duties on the hank, such as interest control and the reception of deposits from private banks, and these duties are making heavy demands upon a greatly depleted staff. The private hanks do not prepare halfyearly balance-sheets, nor does the Bank of England.

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