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Wednesday, 16 November 1927
Page: 1447

Senator MCLACHLAN (South Australia) (Honorary Minister) . - I do not know whether I have cause to regret or to rejoice that I have not yet been long enough in the political arena to become stereotyped. The amendment moved by Senator Thompson would necessitate the re-drafting of this measure.

Senator Thompson - Why not redraft it if the amendment would improve the bill?

Senator McLACHLAN - I think that the proposed amendment which I have circulated will meet the point raised by Senator Thompson. It reads -

Provided that, until the appointment of the commission -

(a)   The savings bank shall be managed by the board of the Bank; and

(b)   For the purposes of this part, and of the Commonwealth Housing Act 1927, the Governor shall have all the powers and functions of the Chief Commissioner, and the board shall have all the powers and functions of the commission: and

(c)   All references in this part (excepting in sections 35f to 35k inclusive) and in the Commonwealth Housing Act 1927 to the Chief Commissioner or to the commission shall be read as references to the Governor or the board, as the case may be.

That amendment provides that should the Commonwealth Bank Board at any time find that its duties ave too onerous, a separate commission may be appointed to control the savings bank; but that until it comes to that decision the business of the savings bank branch shall be conducted under its direction. An elastic provision- of that nature is better than the rigid provision suggested by Senator Thompson.As a result of a discussion to-day with the Commonwealth Bank Board, it has intimated to the Government that it is prepared to undertake the control of its housing scheme. Previously its members did not understand fully the intention of the Government in relation to its housing scheme. The amendment which I have circulated meets with the approval of the board. In the circumstances it is proposed that the Commonwealth Bank Board shall continue to manage the savings bank branch. Should it become necessary later to substitute a commission for the board, the proposed amendment wh ich I have circulated would meet the situation.

Senator Thompson - If the Minister's suggested amendment is agreed to, will there be any consequential amendments?

Senator McLACHLAN - The proposed section 35k refers to the appointment of commissioners; proposed section 35G deals with the duties of the Chief Commissioner; proposed section 35h fixes the remuneration of the commissioners, and, in terms of proposed section 35j, the commissioners shall hold office only during good behaviour. The remaining proposed new sections are of a machinery nature, and will be suspended so long as the Commonwealth Bank Board controls the savings bank branch. Seeing that my proposed amendment will meet the point raised by Senator Thompson, I suggest that he withdraw his amendment.

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