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Thursday, 11 July 1946

Mr BARNARD (Bass) .- Like the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Harrison), I have hesitated to intrude in this debate; and I should not have clone so now, had it not been for his most extraordinary statements. His story about what happens in peace-time, and his attempt to castigate the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), rather amused me, because I was a member of this Parliament in the days of peace, and I can recall a government in which the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was a Minister, or of which he was a supporter, appropriating millions of pounds in a few. minutes under the operation of the " guillotine ". This clause, on which the honorable member treated us to an extraordinary spectacle, merely provides for a limit of £3,000,000 on expenditure for the purchase of certain assets and shares. Details are not submitted to the Parliament, for the reasons that were so well explained by the honorable member' for Watson (Mr. Falstein). Honorable members opposite are agents for private concerns which want to be acquainted with the whole of the details, in order that they may use them for personal gain and aggrandizement. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has made great play in regard to what he has termed the ignorance and inexperience of the honorable member for Fremantle. He is noted for his indulgence in little sharp tricks in this chamber. He has cleverly made use of the broadcasting of parliamentary debates, in an attempt to deceive the people into believing that something sinister is being done by the Government. There is nothing of 'the kind in this proposal. The Government merely asks the

Parliament to authorize the appropriation of an upper limit of £3,000,000, with proper and adequate legislative safeguards. The commission will be responsible for submitting to the Minister detailed estimates of its expenditure at the end of each financial year. As a natural corollary, the Minister will present those details to the Parliament in due course. In his attempt to castigate the honorable member for Fremantle, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition failed badly. It was a most unfair attack- on a young member who makes excellent contributions to our debates.

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