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Tuesday, 22 March 1927


Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - I move-

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of the bill is to appropriate revenue to carry on the ordinary services of the Commonwealth for the first three months of the next financial year. It is usual for a Supply Bill to be submitted just prior to the end of a financial year, or early in the new year; but owing to the transfer of Parliament to Canberra it is impossible, on this occasion, to follow ordinary procedure. Honorable senators are aware that the first meeting of the Parliament at Canberra will take place on the 9th of May, but it is anticipated that only formal business will then be conducted. The date of the further meeting of Parliament at Canberra for the resumption of ordinary business has not yet been decided. It will require some months to complete the transfer of Government departments and records to the new seat of government. That disorganization will be at its height at the end of the present month, and in the early months of the next financial year. It is highly desirable that the departments should be property settled down before Parliament resumes, and it seems quite likely that this will take three months. In the circumstances it will not be possible to prepare and submit Estimates so readily as has been the practice in recent years. It is therefore necessary that Parliament should now grant supply for three months of the new financial year, as existing appropriations of revenue for the ordinary purposes of government will lapse on the 30th of June next. The amount appropriated by this bill is £ 5, 851, 495, made up thus: - £2,212,460 for departments and services other than business undertakings and territories of the Commonwealth ; £2,566,735 for business undertakings; £72,300 for the territories of the Commonwealth; £250,000 for refunds of revenue; and £750,000 for advance to Treasurer. The items are baaed on the appropriations by Parliament for the current financial year. Mo new services are included. In the case of salaries, the amounts cover the pay-day which falls on the 7th of October. The ordinary services provided for total £4,851,49.5, which is slightly less than one-fourth of the total appropriation of £19,793,023 for these services for the current financial year. In addition, provision is made for refunds of revenue, £250,000; and advance to the Treasurer, £750,000. The advance to the Treasurer is in accord with the usual practice, and is necessary to meet unforeseen requirements; also to carry cm works in progress at the 30th of June next, which will subsequently be cowered by the Additions, New Works, and Buildings Estimates for 1927-28. It is hoped .that the budget will be brought down immediately after Parliament meets at Canberra in the next financial year. In the meantime I may say that the results for the .present financial year, to date, are satisfactory. The budget estimate of expenditure should not be exceeded in the total, and the indications are that there will be an increase in revenue beyond what was anticipated. This is due to the Customs and excise, particularly to the heavy imports of motor vehicles, and increases under apparel and textiles, and machinery.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In committee:

Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.







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