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Thursday, 28 May 1942


Sir FREDERICK STEWART (Parramatta) (5:34 AM) .- I find it difficult to appreciate the Government's diffidence in accepting the proposed new clause. This is a bill to make grants to the States, and it contains a schedule indicating the amounts of the proposed grants. In that respect it is comparable with other measures designed for a similar purpose and containing similar schedules, but all similar bills have contained a provision for reference to the Commonwealth Grants Commission, which has the right to recommend an increase or a reduction of the amounts set out in it, in accordance with the evidence adduced by the recipient States. For the life of me, I cannot see why the same principle cannot be included in this legislation. I should not like to think that the schedule is unalterable except in the event of an upward tendency. The honorable member for Boothby (Dr. Price) anticipated something I intended to say at the appropriate time when the schedule was being discussed. He has not told the whole story. I find difficulty in appreciating justification for the figures as they stand. The amendment is reasonable and should be incorporated in the legislation. The only reason against its incorporation advanced by the Treasurer is that it might create suspicion in the minds of State governments. The suspicion which might be engendered could not be any greater than the suspicion that will be engendered by the statement by the Treasurer that, in the event of such and such a contingency, the Government would review the position.







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