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Wednesday, 19 May 1920

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) . - I should like to say a word about the large increases in the Central Staff -expenditure. The explanation is very simple. This year all the permanent personnel is coming back from the war, and the old positions are being resumed. While the men were away, their salaries, and the expense of their maintenance, were paid at the other end of the world, and came out of the war vote; and this alone accounts for one large item. Then there is another item this year, which is resuming for the first time, namely, the Special School of Instruction; and the two items together account for nearly the whole of the increases.

Mr Tudor - You do not object to me bringing the matter up, and" asking for an explanation ?

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - I quite agree that the honorable member is entitled to an explanation, and I have given one. There are also several large items of contingencies included, which came out of loan last year, but this year come out of revenue. All this simply means that the increases are due to the return of our Army, and the placing of the Forces on a peace footing, chargeable to the ordinary revenue of the country. The increases, I must say,- staggered me at first, but I have given the explanation of them.

I do not know anything about the details of the increased pay, and shall leave the explanation in that regard to my colleague, the Assistant Minister for Defence (Sir Granville Ryrie). I wish, to say, however, that since I have been at the Treasury, I have made two grants to the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce), for the purpose of adjusting those very salaries. The two grants amount to about £36,000, and only a month or so ago I agreed to a grant of £18,000 for the purpose of continuing the war bonus to these very men. "Where that money is now I do not know; all I can say is that the Treasury is discharged on that score.

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