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Friday, 22 July 1921

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Repatriation) . - I am afraid that the somewhat awkward questions put by Senator Thomas arise from my presumption . in giving the Senate more information than was actually required on this Bill. The opportunity which Senator Thomas desires to ascertain whether the economies are . real or not will be provided on the Estimates, but . there was no obligation on me to give as full information as I did give regarding the finances on a Supply Bill which is merely to pay the ordinary running expenses of the Government.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - When a Minister has a majority at his back, I recognise that he has no obligations.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - In this Chamber it is always difficult to know whether one has a majority or not. It is a case of" save me from my friends." It appears that Senator Thomas' line of argument is that if the Government spend all the money voted on the Estimates they are to be accused of not endeavouring to economize.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I did not mean that.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - If that is the case, we are accused of putting forward ill-considered Estimates.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - How did you save £4,000,000?

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) -I have already given the' honorable senator some particulars. Whether the saving was a general one or postponed expenditure, the one item I have given will ' answer the question.Asum of£713,000 was actually saved inthe working of the Department, apart from the question of the purchase of telephones. That cannotbe deferr ed expenditurebut generalexpenditure. Regarding the other item inwhichasaving is expected, I amunableto givethe honorableSenator the information he desires; but onthe presentation of the Estimates I shall come, as Ioughtto, properly armed with all the details.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - It wouldbe inter esting to know how the amountwas saved.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Itwillall be interesting.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) -When the Estimates arebefore usIshallaskfor thatinformation, and Inowgivethe Minister notice.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I canassure thehonorablesenatorthatnotice isunnecessary.

Question resolved intheaffirmative. Bill reada third time.


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