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Friday, 19 July 1946

Mr Fadden n asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

1.   What action, if any, was taken by the Treasurer for parliamentary approval for a supplementary appropriation or otherwise with respect to paragraph 86 of the. AuditorGeneral's report for the year ended 30th June, 1944, in which it was stated that funds expended on the referendum were not legally available and applicable under the heading of " Post-war Education Campaign " ?

2.   Have the abovementioned funds been included in a warrant as provided under section 32 and the second schedule of the Audit Act?

3.   If so, what were the division, sub-division and purpose under which' they were so included ?

4.   By whom was the warrant signedand/or certified?

5.   Has the Auditor-General power under section 42 (2) of the Audit Act to surcharge any person concerned with any expenditure not duly authorized, vouched or certified?

6.   Can the amount of such surcharge be recovered from the person surcharged?

7.   Prior to the next referendum, will the Treasurer inform all accounting officers and other persons to whom the above section of the Audit Act is applicable, of their personal liabilities in respect of funds expended on the referendum, in a manner similar to that referred to by the Auditor-General?

Mr CHIFLEY (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   The expenditure of £5,256 mentioned by the Auditor-General in his report for 1943-44 was appropriated by the Supplementary Appropriation Act 1943-44 which was passed by this Parliament in October, 1945. Prior to the passing of this act, the Solicitor - General advised that expenditure directly incurred by the Government in bringing to the minds of the people what the Government regarded as the necessity for the additional powers sought by the proposed alteration of the Constitution was lawfully met out of the vote - " Post-war Educational Campaign ".

2.   Yes.

3.   Division 207, Advance to the Treasurer.

4.   The Treasurer, the Auditor-General and His Excellency the Governor-General as required by the Audit Act. 5.. Yes.

6.   Yes.

7.   See answer to No. 1.

Australian Army: Canteen Funds.

Mr CHIFLEY (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) y. - On the 17th July the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr.. Rankin) asked me to state the amount of profit on Australian Imperial Force canteens and the intentions of the Government in regard to the disbursement of this. money.

The surplus funds, which are expected to be available when the Australian Imperial Force Canteen Service is wound up, will be between £3,500,000 and £4,000,000. It is proposed that the whole of the surplus funds, as they become available, will be transferred to a trust for the benefit of members who served during the war, and their dependants. It is contemplated that provision will be made for educational assistance for children of deceased and incapacitated servicemen, and other necessitous and deserving cases. An inter-departmental committee is now working out the machinery forsetting up a trust for these purposes. In the meantime, action has been taken which will enable any cases now arising, for which immediate Assistance is required, to be provided for from moneys which have been advanced from surplus canteen funds.


Mr Harrison asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that Commonwealth and State authorities have warned that industry, transport, gas and electricity undertakings will suffer a major crisis in two weeks unless coal production is increased? 2.Was the warning issued because of the complete exhaustion of coal reserves and the further loss of. 107,825 tons of coal in the past twelve working days?

3.   If so, will he state in . the national interest what immediate steps he proposes to take to avert the threatened major, crisis?

Mr.Chifley-The answers, to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - 1 and 2. So far as can be ascertained, no Commonwealth or State authority has issued such a warning.

3.   The coal position is undoubtedly serious and every possible endeavour is being made by the Government to ensure production.

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