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Monday, 9 May 1927


Senator KINGSMILL (Western Australia) . - I desire, at the outset, to congratulate Mr. President and the right honorable the Leader of the Senate (Senator Sir George Pearce) on the distinctions that have, been conferred upon them on this very appropriate day. I rose, however, to discuss what to me is a more important matter, namely, the report of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts on the Commonwealth Government's shipping activities, including Cockatoo Island Dockyard, which was to have been presented to the Senate this afternoon. Honorable senators who are familiar with parliamentary procedure will realize that at no time this afternoon was there an opportunity for that report to be tabled; and I desire to make it perfectly clear that that was not because of any wish on the part of the committee. On the contrary, it was the desire of the committee that the report, which had been eagerly waited by the public of Australia for some months, should be laid on the table at an early date. It will be recalled that early in the proceedings in another place this session the joint committee was taken to task for what was said to be its undue delay in presenting a report. It was pointed out by its then chairman, Sir Granville Ryrie, that the delay had been caused by the Government having asked the committee to take in hand an additional investigation. That further investigation it undertook and completed. Its report is now ready, and I deeply regret that it cannot be tabled to-day. I disclaim on behalf of the committee, and as its chairman, any responsibility for the delay. It cannot be attributed to the committee. We have completed our inquiry, and we are prepared at once to lay the result of our investiga tions before Parliament and the public. I have nothing more to say except to express my regret that this committee, which was urged by the Government some time ago to complete its labours as early as possible, has not been given an opportunity to lay before Parliament the result of those labours.







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