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Thursday, 28 May 1942

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON (Barker) (6:46 AM) . As this discussion proceeds, some honorable members on this side of the chamber become more convinced that these bills should not be passed. From the point of view of New South Wales, it is a great pity that the right honorable member for Yarra- . (Mr. Scullin) was a member of the special committee. I am astonished that the Government did not replace him with another New South Welshman, in which case that State would have obtained the whole of the money instead of a miserable 46 per cent of it.

Mr. Lazzarini.Cannot the honorable member forget State considerations?

Mr. ARCHIECAMERON. In view of the preferential treatment that has been meted out to New South Wales, I find it most difficult to overlook them. Surely the principle which the Government has enunciated in clause 6 should have been used for this purpose. The Commonwealth Grants Commission, which is not a political body and is not identified with any State, should have been invited to indicate its views of what constitutes a fair thing. I do not accept the judgment of the special committee in this matter, and I am equally confident that the country will reject it. This series of bills constitute probably the worst legislation that has ever been placed before this chamber, and the position is aggravated by the fact that the Government did not invite the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Fadden) to recommend a representative of the Opposition for appointment to the committee. Instead of consulting the Leader of the Opposition, the Government simply selected the honorable memberfor Robertson (Mr. Spooner). As the debate proceeds, we recognize that it had justification for making that appointment. For the pretence that this method will produce justice and provide for the requirements of all the States, I have only contempt.

Question put -

That the amount proposed to be reduced beso reduced (Mr. Fadden's amendment).

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