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Thursday, 13 May 1915

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) .- I thought that I had explained the item before the Committee adjourned for dinner. The vote of" £2,500 for advertising in the United States, of America to which Senator Grant takes exception represents portion of a proposed vote of £5,000 which was placed on the Estimates ten or twelve months ago. Practically month after month since that time Senator Grant has, in common with other honorable senators, been voting for instalments of the amount in the different Supply Bills which have been passed. Now, when, possibly, all the engagements for advertising have been entered into, and when the accounts are coming in, the honorable senator rises seriously, and, as if he did not know any better, proposes to request the House of Representatives to omit the item. I consider that that is not fair at all. If it is wrong to include such a vote to-day, it was equally wrong ten or eleven months ago, and when previous Supply Bills were passed. When the vote was first included in the Estimates, there was good reason to believe, in view of the holding of the Panama Exhibition, that if we made use of the opportunity thus afforded to advertise the resources of Australia in the United States of America, we might look for a considerable extension of trade with that country. The amount put down for the purpose is not exorbitant, but reasonable. Any Government that has at heart the welfare of the Commonwealth will, from time to time, be called upon to expend money in this way. Senator Grant has given no definite reason for his objection to the item, and if there is any- ;.thing in his protest, it should have Deen made ten months ago.

Request negatived.

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