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Friday, 9 October 1936

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (West ern Australia) (Minister for External Affairs) [10.19].- I move-

That the bill be now read a second time.

I suggest to you, sir, and to the Senate, that the debate on the second reading of this bill should cover also the South Australia Grant Bill and the Tasmania Grant Bill, as the three measures are inter-related

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. P. J. Lynch). - It has been a long established practice in the Senate that bills of a cognate character may be discussed simultaneously, and, as was suggested by the Minister (Senator Pearce), that procedure may, with the concurrence of the Senate, be adopted in this instance.

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE.All honorable senators have received a copy of the report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission for this year, and if they have read it they must have formed the conclusion, even should they not agree with its conclusions, that it is a wellreasoned document. No one could say that every aspect of the question of State grants has not been covered in the report.

The grants proposed for the current year, compared with those for last year, are as follows: -


Honorable senators are no doubt aware that the special grants to be paid to the three States under notice "has been a very difficult problem for many years. The grounds upon which these special grants were originally claimed were the disabilities due to federation or the effects of Federal policy, and a number of attempts has been made by various bodies and authorities, some official and some unofficial, to assess in terms of money the effects of such disabilities on the finances of the States concerned, without, however, any permanent solution of the problem being arrived at. Anybody who has read, as 1 have read, these various reports will at any rate cease to be dogmatic on the subject and will admit that it is a most difficult problem.

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