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Wednesday, 16 November 1927

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) . - The amendment submitted by Senator Thompson, and that indicated by the Minister (Senator McLachlan) are worthy of the most careful consideration, because both touch an issue which was debated at length at the second reading stage of the bill. I cannot permit the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Need- ham) to take all the credit for having objected to the Government's proposal to divorce the savings bank branch from the general business of the bank.

Senator Needham - We received no support from the honorable senator during the second reading-debate.

Senator PAYNE -Senator Thompsonmade his position perfectly . clear.

Senator Needham - How did he vote?

Senator PAYNE - He had no opportunity to vote on this issue. The amendment submitted by the Leader of the Opposition during the second reading debate sought to refer the bill to a select committee. Senator Thompson and other honorable senators on this side were perfectly justified in voting against it. It had nothing to do with the proposal to appoint a superintendent of the savings bank branch under the control of the Commonwealth Bank Board. We may assume that the Government was advised, in the first place by the board of directors, that in order to give effect to the Government's housing proposals, it would be desirable to separate the savings bank branch from the general business of the bank. Equally we are entitled to assume that the directors, upon further consideration, believed that they would be able to carry out the work satisfactorily without making the change, and advised the Government accordingly. I shall vote against Senator Thompson's amendment, because the position is met by the amendment indicated by the Minister, though in a different way. No matter by what name he may be designated, it is obvious that it will be necessary to have a superintendent of the savings bank branch. The Minister's amendment has come as a surprise, but I have no doubt that my assumption as to the reason for this alteration is the correct one, because, with other honorable senators, I was much impressed during the second-reading debate by the earnestness of the Government in seeking to bring about a separation of the two branches of the bank's business.

Amendment negatived.

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