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Wednesday, 5 October 1910
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Senator SAYERS - That is a very slipshod way of doing business. I want some information upon the proposed vote, in view of the fact that in another part of the schedule votes amounting to over £1,000 are set down to cover salaries and contingencies in connexion with the Electoral Department. The officer of the Department, who is in attendance, should be able to supply the information asked for. I have no objection to pay officers reasonable salaries, but I think they should work for them. I never previously knew of a vote being submitted which the departmental officers behind Ministers were not able to explain.

Senator Pearce - Are navigation officers supposed to understand the Electoral Act?

Senator SAYERS - If an officer belonging to the Electoral Department is not in attendance to explain votes connected with that Department the fault is not mine. Ministers should be able to give the Committee a better explanation than has so far been offered in support of this vote of £6,000.

Senator McGregor - Honorable senators will have to vote £32,000 for the whole year.

Senator SAYERS - That may be so; but I hope we shall resist the voting of any money until we know what it is for. I do not blame the present Government especially in this matter, because they are only following a practice which has been followed before by their predecessors of submitting votes without giving any information with respect to them. When they were in Opposition, the' members of the present Government wanted information about every item in the Estimates ; but now that they are on the Treasury bench they are as bad as their predecessors were, and have no information to give the Committee. I know that if honorable senators opposite were not supporting the Government they would want to know what this money is for ; but because they are they are dumb. We are told that we shall get the information for which we ask after the dinner adjournment, but we are expected to pass the vote before we adjourn for dinner. I want to know what this vote is for. The Government should be able to give the Committee the information, and honorable senators should not permit the vote to go until they get it.

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