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Thursday, 22 October 1964

Senator WRIGHT (Tasmania) .- I do not want to make trouble, but I do not think this is quite the standard that should be prescribed by this Committee when it is dealing with a proposed expenditure of £3,884,400 for administrative and operational expenses. We all know that an appropriation bill is just meaningless unless it contains a reasonable amount of detailed information. The form of these Estimates does less than credit to those who prepared them and certainly does no credit to the intelligence of those to whom they are presented. Unless we can have some reasonably detailed dissection, the item should not be passed.

With regard to Division No. 777, not a scrap of information has been put before the Committee, despite two requests. There is no information which would justify anybody forming a judgment as to the pro.priety of this expenditure of £750,000. Senator Wedgwood has just referred me to another item, but I prefer to focus attention on this amount of £750,000 for furniture removals and storage. Surely, in relation to a section of a department, we can be told what was the greatest and the least expenditure incurred in removing and storing the furniture of officers? Surely we can be told the distances involved. I put to the Minister the possibility of an officer being transferred from Darwin to Launceston for the sake of the higher status represented by an increase in salary amounting to £300. I venture to suggest that the cost of furniture removal alone in a case such as that would be something like £700. I want an assurance that matters such as that are being closely scrutinised. The information that has been supplied is not good enough.

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