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Friday, 30 October 1964

Senator PALTRIDGE (Western Australia) (Minister for Defence) . - The purpose of the provision of this amount of £1 million is the same as that of the £16 million which is appropriated under the Appropriation Bill.

Senator Wright - We discussed the £16 million under the big Appropriation Bill. Have you the reference to it?

Senator PALTRIDGE - It is at page 103 of the document before the Committee. The £1 million which is appropriated under the Appropriation (Special Expenditure) Bill can be applied only to those departments which are mentioned in the schedule to the Bill - the Department of Health, the Department of Primary Industry, the Prime Minister's Department, the Department of Shipping and Transport and the Department of Social Services - and used only within those Departments.

I do not think that the principle employed involves any departure from an existing practice. Indeed, I understand the words used are the words that have been used in the appropriation of the Treasurer's Advance for many years.

Senator Mattner - These are the words that appear on page 103?

Senator PALTRIDGE - I have just explained - I do not know whether the honorable senator was here - that because there is an Appropriation (Special Expenditure) Bill it is necessary to have in that Bill an appropriation for an Advance to the Treasurer, in the same way as there has always been an appropriation for an Advance to the Treasurer in the Appropriation Bill. That is all.

Senator Mattner - That is what I have said. These words are applicable to what appears on page 103, justifying what appears there.

Senator PALTRIDGE - They are precisely the same. I am pointing out to the honorable senator that the appropriation of £1 million under this Bill is made in the same form and in precisely the same words as have been used for many years for an appropriation of this kind under the Appropriation Bill. The particular items on which any amounts from this vote will be spent will be spelt out with particularity when the document " Expenditure from Treasurer's Advance " is published at the end of the year. That paper will be before the Senate and will give an opportunity for detailed and particular examination of the expenditure.

Senator WRIGHT(Tasmania) 112.231. - I gather from what the Minister has said that this particular item, as expressed, is not new; that it has been expressed in this form for a number of years; and that it does not have its origin in the recent revision that has taken place of the Treasury papers. The second thing I want to comment upon is that in a Bill providing for special expenditure, in which the appropriations amount to £2.368 million, £1 million, or practically one-half of this amount covered by the Bill, represents undetailed appropriation. One-half of the amount covered by the Bill is not detailed in its appropriation.

Senator PALTRIDGE(Western Australia - Minister for Defence) [12.241. - I take the opportunity to assure the honorable senator that there is no new departure here. The same practice is applied to this measure as has been applied to the Appropriation Bills for many years.

Senator MATTNER(South Australia) [12.251. - That may be true, but I am in a difficult dilemma now. The Minister referred to page 103. In view of what has happened, I would not think that this is following exactly what has gone before. On the question of splitting the annual services, the debate revolves around expenditure for ordinary annual services. We are told that the Treasury has great difficulty in sorting out what is not ordinary annual government expenditure. The amount has been whittled down now to a little over £2 million. Last year it was £180 million. But the matter goes further than that. Even with the £2 million put before us, the Treasury still will be in tremendous doubt as to what £1.5 million will be for. I think this matter can be left. I will not speak any further on it, but it will remain in my mind as one which warrants much greater debate. Kindly as the Minister's reference has been, in my perhaps innocent mind I believe that what is stated in Division No. 590, on page 103, is not following a precedent.

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