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Friday, 16 August 1912

Senator CHATAWAY (Queensland) . - I think that this is a suitable opportunity to draw the attention of the Government to the fact that we do not get the Auditor- General's report at a reasonable time. On the 30th April last, the AuditorGeneral stated in his report that on that date he had received the last figures of the Budget-speech, which was delivered by the Treasurer in October of the previous year. The result of this delay was that the Auditor-General's report appeared in the Gazette, and did not appear as a separate document. Obviously, it appeared long after the time when it could possibly have been of any value to members of Parliament in discussing the Budget-papers. Of course, this Bill only deals with the appli cation of the provisions of the Audit Act to naval establishments. But I think it is up to the Government to see if it is not possible for the Treasurer, when he has delivered a Budget-speech, to hand the papers straight away to the Auditor-General; in fact, I think that the Auditor-General ought to have the papers even beforethe Treasurer delivers his Budget-speech. The position is getting worse and worse. We have Budget-papers before the Senate at the present time, and the Auditor-General's report will probably appear some time after the next general election. Whether the delay is the fault of the Auditor-General or of anybody else, I am not prepared to say, but if it is possible, the Government should try to speed up the Auditor-General. When the members of a State Parliament are discussing financial matters, they have in their hands the Auditor-General's report, and are therefore able to check any statements made by the Government or appearing in the Budget-papers.

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