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Thursday, 26 November 1936

Senator J V MACDONALD (QUEENSLAND) . - While some other honorable senators were speaking, I made some strong remarks, by interjection, about the High Commissioner for Australia, in London (Mr. S. M. Bruce). In view of the fact that Senator Hardy took up one of my expressions I do not desire honorable senators to think that I made those comments without having evidence to support them. I have met Mr. Bruce on only one occasion and that was in a social way at a railway station in the north of New South Wales. I am not actuated by malice against that gentleman. He has an excellent Scottish name and there are many features about him that I like. For example, he is interested in cricket, and so am I.

Senator Guthrie - Mr. Bruce has carried out a lot of excellent work on behalf of Australia.

Senator J V MACDONALD (QUEENSLAND) - I disagree. He is the agent of London financiers.

Senator Dein - That is not correct.

Senator J V MACDONALD (QUEENSLAND) - That is only the opinion of the honorable senator. If Mr. Bruce has rendered such wonderful service to Australia why has he not converted the remaining outstanding Australian debt in London of £180,000,000? At present we are paying, in interest, from £2,000,000 to £3,000,000 more than we should.

The CHAIRMAN - Order ! Will the honorable senator indicate in what way he will connect his remarks with the bill ? He must not enter into a general dissertation on Mr. S. M. Bruce, and where he met that gentleman socially. His remarks must be relevant to some item under the High Commissioner's office.

Senator J V MACDONALD (QUEENSLAND) - In my opinion it would be to the advantage of Australia if Mr. Bruce were to enter the House of Commons.

The CHAIRMAN - That remark is irrelevant to this bill. If the honorable senator continues in that strain I shall have to order him to resume his seat.

Senator J V MACDONALD (QUEENSLAND) - Reference to the High Commissioner is contained in this bill.

The CHAIRMAN - But it relates only to salaries and allowances of the employees in the High Commissioner's office.

Senator J V MACDONALD (QUEENSLAND) - I do not desire to go to the length of moving that the salary of the High Commissioner be reduced by £1 in order to provide myself with the opportunity to continue my remarks about Mr. Bruce.

Senator Sir George Pearce - The salary of the High Commissioner is not contained in the schedule.

Senator J V MACDONALD (QUEENSLAND) - That is another reason why we should discuss it.

The CHAIRMAN - While I am in the Chair the honorable senator will not be permitted to do so on this schedule. He may discuss any item in Division 13 - " High Commissioner's Office " - but obviously he will be out of order in continuing a discussion on the High Commissioner in the manner in which he apparently proposes to do.

Senator J V MACDONALD (QUEENSLAND) - I do not desire to trace the High Commissioner's record; but we were challenged on all sides to give our reasons why we considered that Mr. Bruce was not fit to occupy his present office. I bear no personal animosity against Mr. Bruce, but I have in my possession a document which will be of interest in the light of the remarks which I have made, and that document emanates from an anti-Labour source.

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