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Friday, 22 July 1921

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister for Defence) . - I do not think that the particular vote to which the honorable senator has. referred can be cavilled at. It covers contingencies, as well as salaries, and represents an average annual payment of £11,400. A great deal of work has to be done in connexion with this particular branch of the Department of the Treasury. Money orders have to be sent throughout Australia, and amounts checked. The staff is administering a total expenditure of £630,000 annually, and thevote for salaries and contingencies represents an office expenditure of only13/4percent. That cannot be regarded as a high percentage for administration of a scheme which operates throughout the Commonwealth.

Senator Duncan - I think it is remarkably low.

Senator PEARCE - The branch is really economically worked. This does not affect the way in which the money is spent. That is not a matter for which the officers of the branch are responsible. This Parliament is responsible for that, and Senator Payne probably knows that I think the money could be spent to better advantage than it is at present. The Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) has announced that, at the first opportunity, the Government will take into consideration the question of how this money can be expended to better advantage.

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