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Wednesday, 16 November 1927

Senator GRANT (New South Wales) . - I was rather pleased to hear the squealing of Senator Duncan, and the squeaking of Senator Herbert Hays. This is one of the- punishments that are meted out to those who find themselves obliged to support a government through thick and thin. On occasions we all have to swallow our convictions, and do as we are told. I rather enjoy the spectacle of honorable senators opposite in that position. The Government, however, is not treating the Senate fairly. Honorable senators, who sit on this side, regarded the proposal to appoint a commission as an indication of the intention of the Government . to separate almost completely the control of the savings bank and the general bank. Honorable senators of the Opposition were opposed to that idea, because, in their opinion, it would suggest that the positionof the bank was weakened, and because they thought that the very small portion of work the commission would be required to undertake could easily be done by the present Board of Directors of the Commonwealth Bank. I expressed the opinion that the commission would not meet more than once a month, and that I thought it would be a fair thing to pay them £50 for each sitting. On the other hand, Senator Duncan and others thought that the board would meet more frequently. So far as I could see, all that the commissioners would have to do was to allocate, the amount of money to be placed at the disposal of the various authorities in the States. That, in my opinion, was not sufficient to justify the appointment of an additional Board of Commissioners. If the Government has the power, as it will have, to appoint a commission immediately after this bill is passed and becomes an act, it might as well appoint it straight away. It is my belief that it intends to appoint a commission; but, if it is not the intention of the Government to do so, why cannot it do the decent, straightforward thing and delete from the bill all reference to the commission? I shall not vote against the amendment, because it improves the bill slightly and may delay the appointment of the commission for a day or two.

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