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Thursday, 1 December 1960

Mr BRYANT (Wills) .- I hope the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) will answer the questions that were put to him directly, forcibly, and clearly by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam).

Mr Harold Holt - Sit down and I will.

Mr BRYANT - That will be an interesting experience because this bill, simple as it is, and in itself probably commendable, is, to my mind, an example of the two abiding principles of this Government - presumption and procrastination. In the first instance, it is presumed in a report that the Parliament will do something to render legal that which is in fact illegal during the course of its commission. I am disappointed in the honorable member for Swan, whom I find from the notice-paper is one of the custodians of the public purse, nominated by this Parliament to a position on what is part of the public watchdog system. He said he was prepared to support the general principles that have prevailed in this instance.

I understand that the simple history of the matter is that eight years ago the Auditor-General-

Mr Harold Holt - I will explain the history.

Mr BRYANT - That, too, will be interesting, because there have been so many procrastinations. I refer, for instance, to the Darwin High School, the National Library, and the Audit Act. They are in every field of government.

Mr Cleaver - I rise to order. What happened eight years ago has absolutely no relationship to this bill, which deals with a specific repeal.

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