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Thursday, 13 October 1921

Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) . - I desire to take this opportunity of making a correction - I believe every honorable senator is big enough to do that when he finds that he has made a mistake - in a hurriedly prepared statement I made when speaking on a motion relating to the Budget. On a closer investigation., I find that I made some reflection upon the Defence Department which the facts do not warrant. I referred to the1 large increase in the Administrative and Instructional Staffs of the Permanent Forces, and said that the number had been increased from 1,620 to 2,502. I also quoted figures showing that the increase in the pay under that one heading amounted to £338,890. The amount voted for the financial year 1920-21 was £323,409, and that proposed for 1921-22 is £607,319, an increase of £338,890. The item appeared to me to have been unduly increased, but I was not aware at the time that the method of arranging the Estimates had been altered. I find now that in 1920-21 the pay of the Administrative and Instructional Staffs, which amounted to £249,257, was shown under separate headings, and that in the 1921-22 Estimates that amount has been grouped, which accounts for a large proportion of the increase. Instead of the increase being in the vicinity of £300",000, it is approximately £100,000, and the remarks which I made on a previous occasion, which to a certain extent still apply, because there has been a fairly considerable increase, do not do so to the same extent. As I have said, the increase is in the vicinity of £100,000, and the increase in the personnel of the Permanent Forces about 900.

There is one item in the schedule under the Department of the Navy on which I would like some information.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Would it not be better to deal with the details when the Bill is in Committee?

Senator DUNCAN - I am quite prepared to do that.

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