Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Friday, 25 November 1910

Senator ST LEDGER (Queensland) . - 1 recognise that, at this stage of the session, it is almost a piece of audacity for an honorable senator to encroach upon the time of the Senate. But a careful scrutiny of the finances of the Commonwealth will reveal that the expenditure upon our Departments is increasing by leaps and bounds. It is growing almost as fast as is taxation, and if suddenly a financial panic should strike Australia, and there is not a financier on earth who can say that such a disaster may not occur at any moment - we have no reserve by means of which the Commonwealth may be extricated from its: embarrassed position. Experience teaches us that, in Australia, cycles of fat and lean seasons follow each other with unfailing; regularity.

Senator Lynch - Can the honorable senator put his finger upon any extravagance ?

Senator ST LEDGER - It is not my business to do that.

Senator de Largie - Is it not the honorable senator's duty to point to extravagance, if it exists ?

Senator ST LEDGER - It is not my business to shape the financial policy of the Government. No private member can do more than point to the rocks ahead. It is not merely from this side of the Chamber that I have uttered the same complaint. When the Fusion Government were in office, I clearly intimated that if its financial policy were not more carefully scrutinized, I should be compelled to consider my position. Since then Commonwealth expenditure has increased by leaps and bounds, and there seems to be no prospect of the Government checking that expenditure. Consequently, when the inevitable reverse does come, we shall be unable to meet it-

I have carefully examined the figures contained in the Budget papers, and if my memory serves me accurately, they disclose that, whilst our expenditure during the last nine years has increased by 150 per cent., our population has increased by only 12 or 15 per cent. Further, they reveal a steady increase in the expenditure of each Department of the Commonwealth. If some Treasurer does not cry a halt, we can easily predict what will be the end. If, as the result of natural causes, we suddenly experience severe reverses, the Government will find themselves in far stormier waters than any State Government has ever been in, and with less prospect of getting out of them. Every State has been warned against reckless and extravagant expenditure.

Senator Long - Will the honorable senator point to any extravagant expenditure on the Dart of the Commonwealth?

Senator ST LEDGER - If Senator Long will only spend an hour or two in perusing the Budget papers, he will see it staring him in the face. If he cannot see it, it is beyond my power to make him do so. However, I shall now leave that aspect of the question-

Senator Long - A good way of shuffling out of it.

Suggest corrections