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Wednesday, 16 November 1927
Page: 1444

Senator MCLACHLAN (South Australia) (Honorary Minister) . - The first portion of proposed section 35n contains an empowering provision which will enable the body that is to be created to take the business of every savings bank, subject to the parliamentary authority given, and the statutory limitations of the trustees, directors, or commissioners, as the case may be. A similar transaction has already taken place in a rather different form. The object here is to enable that to be done without further parliamentary authority. If some of the States that are not now co-operating with the Commonwealth in savings bank business, should in the future choose to join forces, this provision will enable that to be done. I again point out that subsection 2 makes provision for doing only what a person engaged in commerce would do. It is proposed, by act of Parliamentto transfer to the Commonwealth Savings Bank whatever liabilities have been incurred on its behalf by the Commonwealth Bank. That Bank is already bound in accordance with the obligations it has undertaken ; and the State instrumentalities are in turn bound to the Commonwealth Bank. The figures that were quoted by the Minister for Defence (Senator Glasgow) relate to increased deposits over the whole of Australia, not in any particular State.

Senator Needham - Has the Government consulted the States with respect to proposed section 35d.

Senator MCLACHLAN - As the honorable senator has pointed out, there is no necessity to consult Queensland and Tasmania, because the Commonwealth Bank is already performing the work for those two States; and I have endeavoured to make it clear that, because sub-section 1 is an empowering provision, it is not necessary to consult the other States. Nothing will happen unless -the State instrumentality agrees to fall into line with the Commonwealth Savings Bank. Under the agreements referred to in the proposed section the Government possesses the right, if it should choose to exercise it, to receive 70 per cent, of the increases in deposits. I understand that that right has not always been exercised. It receives 50 per cent, of the increases in deposits over the whole of Australia.

Sitting suspended from 6.15 to S p.m.

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