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Thursday, 11 July 1946

The CHAIRMAN - Order !

Mr CALWELL - To get down to realities again, this clause, about which the honorable member works himself into such simulated indignation, is identical with the corresponding clause in the Australian National Airlines Act. All these things are just the normal procedure of government. What we have put into this bill has been put into every other similar bill. It is not until to-day that honorable gentlemen opposite have dis- ' covered that an attack is being made on the fundamental rights of honorable members of this Parliament. It is nonsense.' They are only wasting the time of the committee with their simulated indignation. All that the clause provides is - '

The Commission shall prepare estimates, in such form as the Minister directs, of its receipts and expenditure for each financial year and shall submit those .estimates to the Minister.

Is there anything wrong with that? If the provision were not there, there would be1 strong opposition from honorable gentlemen opposite. They would want to know why the 'Minister did not know all that happened in his department. They would say that the Minister was guilty of some nefarious intent* if he did not include a clause like this in the bill. This clause is in every similar bill, and it is a necessary clause. There are other clauses. Clause 40, for instance, which provides -

The Commission shall furnish all such reports, documents, and information relating to the. operations of the Commission as the Minister requires.

Sub-clause 1 of clause 39 states-?--

The Commission shall, as soon as possible after the close of each financial year, submit to the Minister an annual report with respect to the operations of the Commission' and financial accounts, in respect of that year, in such form' as the Treasurer approves.

The Executive retains control, through the appropriate Minister, of the operations of the commission, and the Parliament will have an opportunity to discuss the reports if it wishes to discuss them; but, if I know honorable members opposite, after all. their demands and display to-night, they will allow the documents to be printed and will evince no further interest in them.

Mr Fadden - Print the report of the Auditor-General and -see!

Mi'. CALWELL. - Authority has been given by this chamber for the printing of the Auditor-General's report. The honorable member for Warringah should not attempt to put words into my mouth by saying that I would have none of the ideas of the honorable member for Watson' (Mr. Falstein). There was nothing antagonistic to my remarks in what was said by the honorable member for Watson. He was dealing with the trading activities of the company, and I was dealing, with the national interest in what will become a government concern when the telecommunications section of the company's activities become a government responsibility. There is no clash of opinion between myself and the honorable member for Watson on this matter. All the right-thinking members of this Parliament, of course, sit on your right, Mr. Chairman, and they know what legislation is being passed, and whom it is intended to 'benefit. We are convinced that the public interest is being well served by the. general purposes underlying this measure. The clauses to which objection is being taken are purely machinery provisions. Apparently, the Leader of the Australian Country party did not hear, or did not take note of, what I said to the committee this afternoon in answer to the honorable member for Barker (Mr.' Archie Cameron), namely that this Government" did not pay any subsidies, to Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited. In fact, in the financial year ended the 30th June last, the company paid to the Government the sum of £57,000; This, idea, of subsidies and the like arose in the disordered imagination of the honorable member for Barker, and exists nowhere else.

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