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Tuesday, 10 June 1902

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I blame the Government because they make it so extremely difficult for the committee to know what it is really proposed to grant to the Governor-General. What I want to know is how much is paid to the Governor-General by way of allowances in addition to this £5,000 ? I have looked through the Estimates and the Supplementary Estimates, but the only other item dealing with the Governor-General's expenditure which I can find is this -

Official printing, stationery, travelling, telegrams, and other incidental expenditure for Governor-General, £2.000.

Sir George Turner - The whole of the details are given in the papers which were circulated on the8th October.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is it proposed that £7,000 shall be given to the GovernorGeneral by way of allowances - the £5,000 now under discussion, and the £2,000 to which I have just referred?

Mr McCay - The £2, 00 to which the honorable member has just referred is to provide for the official expenditure of the Executive Council.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Then, are we asked to vote only £5,000 for the GovernorGeneral's establishment ? When the Prime Minister introduced the Governor-General's Establishment Bill he told us that in addition to the statutory salary of £10,000 there were allowances amounting to £9,000, and honorable members determined that they would not vote an additional allowance of £8,000 a year, although they were willing to vote a special grant of £10,000, to recoup the Governor-General for the expense to which he was put in dispensing the national hospitality to the Duke and Duchess of York. What I understood then was that Parliament was committed to an expenditure of £29,000 on account of the Governor-General for thefirst year, and of £19,000 for subsequent years. I find, however, that that is not the idea accepted by the press, and, although I have seen explanations in the newspapers in regard to the item now before the committee, I am considerably mystified as to the expenditure which it is intended to cover.

Mr McCay - We had a full explanation whilst the honorable member was absent from the Chamber.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - From the tenor of the remarks I have heard it is clear that some honorable members did not understand any explanation that may have been given, and I think the Treasurer might give me a simple answer stating the total amount which will have to be paid for contingencies and allowances in connexion with the GovernorGeneral's establishment.

Sir George Turner - About £6,000 has to be paid for the up-keep and maintenance of the Government Houses in Sydney and Melbourne, and there is another item of £2,000 with which the Governor-General has nothing whatever to do. The present vote is intended to pay for the cost of lighting, fuel, . orderlies, flags, crockery, printing and stationery, and other miscellaneous items which will not have to be provided for hereafter.

Mr G B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What I complain of is that these items should have been kept back until the last moment. The Government must have known from the outset that somesuch items must be provided for, and they should have been placed in the Estimates-in-chief in the first instance. This House is not likely to become an institution for registering the decrees of the Executive ; and although we cannot do anything practical if the money has been spent, we can impress upon the Executive the necessity of acting constitutionally by voting against their proposals, and allowing the responsibility to rest entirely upon them.

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