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Tuesday, 22 March 1927

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Aus tralia) . - So far as I can ascertain, the procedure adopted in connexion with this motion is of a novel character. Honorable senators will remember that last year two bills dealing with the Council for Scientific and. Industrial Research were before the Senate. One gave ordinary financial assistance to the newlyestablished council, and the other established a trust fund. The measure constituting the trust fund appropriated a certain sum of money for the purpose of enabling continuous research made along certain lines. It was recognized that, in some directions, it would bo necessary for continuous effort to be made, and, in order that the council would have at its disposal sufficient funds for that purpose, a trust fund was established. That legislation also provided that no money could be taken from the trust fund for the purpose of continuous research without the authority of Parliament, which not only had to authorize the expenditure from the trust fund of the money required by the council for such continuous research, but was also to be made aware of the lines along which such research would be made. It is obvious that the money having once been appropriated under an act of this Parliament,no further appropriation would be necessary. I take it, therefore, that this motion has been introduced with the object of informing the Senate of the directions in which it is proposed that the money from the trust fund shall be spent. In another place, a similar motion has been tabled, so that both Houses of this Parliament may know the lines along which the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research proposes to work. It is proposed to set aside the sum of £1,750 for investigation into stock diseases and pests, including cattle tick dips and buffalo-fly. For horticultural,citricultural and viticultural investigations the sum of £1,000 is required. Investigations into fruit preservation and cold storage will require £1,100, and for thepurpose of State committees, sundry investigations and miscellaneous expenditure it is proposed to set aside the sum of £6,302. Some objection might be offered to the last item. Perhaps the Minister will inform us how the committees will work, and whether they will travel abroad to make the investigations required of them or whether the item is intended to cover the ordinary expenditure in connexion with continuous research. I admit that the procedure is new, but having referred to the legislation passed last year, I can see the necessity for it. A new appropriation bill cannot be brought in, because, I understand, the money has already been appropriated. We are now informed that the. council requires this additional sum to carry on necessary work. I admit that it is too early yet to expect anything like complete information as to the result of its investigations. The council is, so to speak, in its swaddling clothes ; but later we may expect fairly comprehensive reports concerning the manner in which money voted by Parliament has been expended, and the results of the investigations. If the additional sum asked for were withheld no doubt the work of the council would be crippled because, to he effective, research must be continuous.

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