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Thursday, 2 October 1902

Mr McCAY (Corinella) - Before the Acting Minister for Defence makes his statement, I wish to suggest to the Treasurer that it will assist honorable members greatly if next year - and I think we may fairly anticipate that the right honorable gentleman will deliver next year's Budget speech - he will have a third column in the Estimates showing the Estimate for the previous year as well as the actual expenditure. I do not know whether the exigencies of printing will allow of that being done. As it is we have to sit with last year's Estimates as well as this year's in front of us, in order to know where a difference arises.

Sir George Turner - I thought honorble members would prefer to compare what we propose to spend with what we spent in the previous year.

Mr McCAY - I quite agree with that ; but is there any reason why we should not have a third column showing the previous year's Estimates as well as the previous year's expenditure?

Sir GEORGE TURNER - I think I can get over the difficulty that has hitherto existed with regard to printing. Looking over the Estimates again, I find that we have columns for " transferred " and "other" expenditure, but we have nothing in the "other" column. Next year, if honorable members desire it, I think I shall be able to utilize that " other " column in order to show the last year's estimate as well as the actual expenditure. The usual practice is to compare Estimate with Esti mate, but if I had done that this year the comparison would have shown a very large saving, and honorable members might have been misled. Therefore I showed the actual expenditure in the previous year, which seemed to me to be a fair comparison. If, however, honorable members think that the third column would be of use - and there appears to be no difficulty about it as far as the printing is concerned - I see a means of complying with their wish by leaving out the "other " column, and using the space to indicate the previous year's Estimates. I will take care that that is done next year.

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