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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Mr JOHNSON (Lang) . - I was surprised to hear the interjection of the honorable member for Herbert. Surely it is an extraordinary thing for the honorable member to contend that no honorable member has any right to ask for information regarding a proposed vote.

Mr Bamford - If the honorable member had known anything about the matter his action might have been forgivable.

Mr JOHNSON - If I had known anything about it, there would have been no necessity to seek enlightenment. One cannot be expected to be familiar with the requirements in connexion with every postoffice in the Commonwealth.

Mr Bamford - The honorable member might be content to trust the officers of the Department, who are familiar with the whole of the circumstances.

Mr JOHNSON - Not at all. We know very well that departmental officers sometimes make very serious mistakes. If we are not to ask for information when the Estimates are submitted we might as well pass them en bloc. I think that I was fully entitled to be informed as to the necessity of the proposed expenditure. I was not offering any factious opposition. In my own electorate there is one locality which is becoming very thickly populated, and which is badly in need of improved post-office accommodation. I refer to Miranda, where the whole of the postal business is conducted in one small room, not as large as this table. Yet I have not had the temerity to ask for improved accommodation. It is necessary to closely scrutinize proposed items of expenditure, in order that we may be able to justify our votes. As the Minister has assured me that additional accommodation is needed, and his statement has bean' corroborated by two representatives of Queensland, I do not propose to offer any opposition to the proposed vote.

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