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Friday, 16 July 1915

Senator TURLEY - Does a soldier only get Is. a day when away from Australia? 'Senator PEARCE. - Yes, if it is so allocated.

Senator DE LARGIE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - It. is a pity we cannot limit the officers in the same way.

Senator PEARCE - I " have already stated that the officers are allocating part of their pay to relatives in Australia. As a matter of fact, I do not see how they could very well expend money in Gallipoli.

Senator Turley - They could spend it in Egypt, and they wanted it then, because they were sending to Australia for money.

Senator MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - A different currency is employed there.

Senator PEARCE - Yes. I am only mentioning the matter to show that the greater part of the war expenditure is being retained in Australia, and as this loan will be devoted to war expenditure, the money will still be in the Commonwealth and available for investment. A great leakage in this respect will be due to transports which go oversea. Many of them are hired overseas, and, of course, are a very heavy source of expenditure, so that a great deal of money will have to go out on that account.

Senator Long - But there are a. good many Australian transports, are there not?

Senator PEARCE - Yes; we must not lose sight of the fact, however, that during the last financial year the transports returned nearly a quarter of a million pounds in revenue, and I think that during the current year the income on this account will probably be over halfami 111On. We must recognise, of course, that till that will not be profit; but it will * be profit in the sense that in any case the ships would have been sent away, so in that respect there will be an' income as a set-off on the' expenditure account.

Senator Turley - What proportion will that be to the cost of the transports ?

Senator PEARCE - Speaking from memory, the estimate for last year for transports was in the neighbourhood of" £2,000,000, and the revenue would, therefore, be about 12J per cent. I think that revenue will increase as we get better organized for dealing with freights. We have suffered in this matter just as the shipping companies must have suffered at the outset of the war, but as we are now' getting into regular running, we are able to take shipping contracts and freightage in a better way than at the inception of the war. Senator Maughan. - Will that income from freights go into the Consolidated Revenue or into a Suspense Account?

Senator PEARCE - It will go into the revenue as a set-off against the expenditure. Coming back to the loan, I may say that we are advised of the legal position of this stock, that it will be free of State income tax, and we propose to make it free also of Commonwealth income tax. There is one important question, the investment of trust funds, which is now the subject of negotiation between the Commonwealth and the States, and we hope to arrive at a satisf actory solution of that at an early date. I thought it advisable that the Senate should be placed in possession of these facts with regard to the loan, because it undoubtedly will be a principal feature of our financial arrangements during the coming year. We all hope and believe that the optimism we entertain with regard to it will be justified by the results, for we must remember that if Australia can finance this war, or its share of the war, it will thereby assist the Mother Country just as truly as by sending men to the front, because, undoubtedly, the financial strain on the Mother Country is a very serious one. Incidentally I may say that there have been comments on the part Australia has been able to play in this war as compared with other Dominions and the Mother Country. A comparison has been made with regard to numbers sent away, but honorable senators should remember that whereas it costs us probably in the neighbourhood of a couple of hundred pounds - taking that as a unit - to deal with an individual soldier and place him in the field so many thousand miles away, it costs the United Kingdom, I should think, not more than £50, because the Mother Country is close to the seat of war. Canada also is in somewhat the same position as the United Kingdom, but New Zealand is in the same position as Australia. It is most unfair, . therefore, merely to make a comparison between Australia and Canada, but even if a comparison were made of numbers, Australia does not suffer with any other Dominion of the Empire. As I said before, we cannot leave this financial question out of consideration if any comparison is to be made concerning the part Australia is playing in connexion with the war. I have much pleasure in. submitting the motion.

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