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Friday, 26 June 1914

Senator MULLAN (Queensland) . - I take some exception to the attitude adopted by the Leader of the Government in the Senate upon inquiries made by honorable senators in discussing items of Supply. It is not sufficient for the Minister to tell us that he is not in a position to give the information required at first hand concerning all the Departments. We recognise that no Minister can be regarded as an expert concerning all matters arising in connexion with the different Departments, and be in a position to personally supply all the information desired. But it is the duty of the Government to make provision for the supply of information: They should follow the proper practice of having at hand officers of the different Departments able to give the information required. What chance have we of getting information when the session closes, unless through the courtesy of Ministers? Personally, I want nothing from Ministers except what I am entitled to, and that is my rights. I see from the schedule that £5,000 only is set down for post-office buildings for Queensland, out of a total of £80,000 provided for this purpose for the whole Commonwealth. Queensland is a very big State. There are hundreds of post-offices there; many more are required, and no doubt repairs are needed in a great many instances. The amount set down for Queensland appears to be extremely small, and I think we should have some explanation of it.

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