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Thursday, 24 March 1966

Mr SPEAKER - There being no objection, leave is granted.

Mr CLEAVER - The Seventy-eighth Report relates to the report of the AuditorGeneral for the financial year 1964-65. Your Committee's inquiry into that report was somewhat more widespread than similar inquiries conducted in recent years and included an examination of taxes written off which had not been the subject of criticism by the Auditor-General but which provided an opportunity for a thorough examination to be made of an important aspect of financial administration.

Evidence taken by your Committee from the Prime Minister's Department and the Departments of External Affairs, Trade and Industry and Treasury has reflected a continuing unsatisfactory state of affairs in the financial arrangements at overseas posts notwithstanding previous inquiries by your Committee in this area of administration.

In the case of the Department of the Interior, your Committee was concerned to find that although it had inquired into the Parks and Gardens Section of the Department in connection with the AuditorGeneral's report for 1962-63, little real progress has been made to rectify the problems then discovered and the Department has continued to attract criticism from the Auditor-General.

Although the matters reported on by the Auditor-General in respect of the Department of the Army had been rectified when your Committee conducted its inquiry, the irregularities reported on were of such a nature as to raise doubts in your Committee's mind as to whether there may have been a deterioration in normal Army peace-time discipline.

The Seventy-ninth Report relates to Treasury minutes on the Sixty-eighth, Seventieth and Seventy-second Reports of your Committee. This Report shows that your Committee has re-endorsed the procedures agreed to with the Treasurer in 1954 relating to Treasury minutes and has developed, in association with the Treasurer, a refinement of those procedures whereby exploratory discussions will be held with officers of the Department of the Treasury in the case of Treasury minutes which contain recommendations not fully dealt with or which are subject to a further Treasury minute. This Report contains, in its introductory chapter, a full statement of the current mutually agreed procedures for processing, through the Treasury minute arrangements, your Committee's recommendations arising from inquiries it has made.

I commend the reports to honorable members.

Ordered that the reports be printed.

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