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Tuesday, 21 June 1949

Mr FALKINDER (Franklin) . - The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Thompson) implied in his speech that if the States show anything like a deficit the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley) is kind enough to make a grant that will more or less make up for it.

Mr Thompson - More or less.

Mr FALKINDER - Yes, I am not trying to exaggerate the honorable member's point; but the system has put the State governments, particularly the Government of Tasmania, in the curious position of having to budget deliberately for a deficit to get what they want. That produces phoney figures. Members of the State Parliament have complained bitterly about the position. This Government is attempting to get some kudos to which it has no right. The Prime Minister has about £500,000,000 a year by way of tax revenue and he should disburse to the States what they rightly deserve. It is incorrect to suggest that the Prime Minister is a good sort of Treasurer in that if a State shows a deficit he gives it enough to bring its figures somewhere near the point of balance, because, in fact, he puts the States in a position wherein they have to budget for that deficit.

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