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Wednesday, 18 March 1936

Senator BRENNAN (Victoria) (Acting Attorney-General) . - I, too, am surprised that the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) should move such an amendment, because it has always been the objective of the party of which he is a member that there should be no discrimination in the payment of money appropriated for bounties, pensions, and similar purposes. The Opposition has always advocated a flat rate, and has contended that, in the payment of bounties, there should not be any inquiries into the circumstances of any individual. It is true that under this clause certain rich wheat-growers may receive the bounty provided in the bill. For instance., Senator Johnston, who does not require the money, and who possibly will not collect it, can benefit under the measure in its present form; but it would be peculiarly discriminatory if the measure were so framed that Senator Johnston and others in a similar position were precluded from participating.

Senator Hardy - Senator Johnston is not a necessitous wheat-grower.

Senator BRENNAN - No. But the honorable senator could benefit under other provisions unless special steps are taken to exclude him. I do not think that the Leader of the Opposition can expect a majority of the committee, or of the members of the House of Representatives, to accept his amendment.

Senator Collings - Will the Acting Attorney-General (Senator Brennan) guarantee that money appropriated under this bill will not he paid to persons, including some members of Parliament, who do not need it?

Senator BRENNAN - We cannot set up an inquisition. The committee is asked to pass a measure under which all wheat-growers may benefit.

Senator Collings - Will the Minister accept an amendment to ensure that payments will not 'be made to persons who have a taxable income?

Senator BRENNAN - No. I ask the Leader of the Opposition not to press the amendment, because he must realize that the committee cannot support it, and even if it were accepted here it would be rejected by a majority of the House of Representatives.

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