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Thursday, 27 November 1941

Senator McLEAY (South Australia) (Leader of the Opposition) . - I take this opportunity to pay a tribute to the former Chairman of the Commonwealth Grants Commission, Sir Frederic Eggleston. Those who have had an opportunity to study the commission's activities over a number of years, appreciate fully the splendid work which has been, done by that gentleman, and it is fitting that he should be commended for his efforts.

As a representative of one of the claimant States, it has always occurred to me that the attitude adopted by representatives of the more populous States such as New South Wales and Victoria towards these grants has been extremely reasonable. I do not remember any occasion on which an honorable senator has objected to a grant being paid to a claimant State. That is a tribute to the fair-mindedness of honorable senators.

The policy of industrial decentralization pursued by the Menzies Government will bear fruit before long, particularly in South Australia, where so much money is being spent on war requirements. The finances of the claimant States should improve to such a degree that their calls upon Commonwealth funds will be considerably reduced if not eliminated. In planning our post-war reconstruction, it is of the greatest importance that special attention should be given to the less populous States, particularly Western Australia. If the secondary industries of such States be developed a more balanced economy will result and the Commonwealth will benefit, particularly from a defence point of view.

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