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Tuesday, 6 December 1927

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- I note that under this department it is proposed to expend this year £380,514, as against an expenditure of £835,000 last year, which exceeds the vote of the preceding year by £26,000, and the vote of last year by £45,000. In these circumstances, I direct the attention of the Minister representing the Prime Minis ter's Department to two items, one of which relates to the expenditure of £9,600 for municipal and other taxes in connexion with the High Commissioner's office in London. I should like to know why this amount is being voted, as, although £8,000 was voted last year, only £3,473 was spent. I also notice an increase in the proposed expenditure in connexion with the Office of the Australian Commissioner in the United States of America. As the Australian Commissioner in the United States of America has, I understand, tendered his resignation, I should like to know if it is the intention of the Government to appoint a successor, and if so, whether Parliament will have an opportunity to express its opinion concerning the utility of that office? There is a difference of opinion in Australia concerning the advantage, if any, that we derive from our representation in America, and this seems an opportune time for the Minister to make a statement concerning the Government's intention.

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