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Wednesday, 1 August 1906
Page: 2182

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I should like the Treasurer to read the provision in the New South Wales Act. I see in the side-note to the next clause a reference to the New South Wales Act, although the clause itself does not contain a safeguard that is in the Act referred to. I intend later on to move the insertion of" that safeguard. While there may be some reason in what the Treasurer states as to postponing audits in some cases, on account of distance or inaccessibility, it is quite another matter to give the Auditor-General and the Treasurer power to dispense with an audit whenever they like.

Sir JohnForrest. These things must be considered reasonably.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I can remember cases in which Treasurers would have been very glad to dispense with an audit.

Sir John Forrest - This clause can be put into operation only when the AuditorGeneral wishes it.


Sir John Forrest - It says with his "sanction." What does that mean?

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It does not necessarily mean upon the application of the Auditor-General. Parliament ought to know what is being done in this respect. Audits should not be dispensed with behind the back of. Parliament. We are asked to pass a clause of this kind on the strength of the assertion that it is contained in another Act with which we may not agree. Even on the application of the Auditor-General, we should not allow him, in conjunction with the Treasurer, to say that an audit shall not be made of what might be important accounts.

Sir John Forrest - I do not care, personally, whether or not the clause is inserted, but without it a considerable amount of travelling and expenditure will be involved.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member for Hindmarsh did not put the argument which the Treasurer affects to answer. There may be reasons for dispensing with a particular audit on account of flood, drought, or inaccessibility, but in this clause the Treasurer asks for power to postpone any audit for any length of time. If he had asked for a reasonable power the case would be quite different.

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