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Friday, 11 March 1904

Sir JOHN FORREST (SWAN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Home Affairs) - I shall be obliged to the honorable member if he will give me more definite information on this subject. There are outstanding accounts in regard to which there are disputes, because some of the returning officers took it upon' themselves to spend considerable sums of money contrary to the instructions issued to them. Those cases are being investigated, but every account in regard to which there has been no dispute has been paid.

Mr Willis - What about the carpenters?

Sir JOHN FORREST - The carpenters were employed, not by the Department, but by various returning officers acting under the instructions of the Department. Where returning officers have gone beyond their instructions, there must be delay in dealing with these matters. Every other account has been settled long ago. I am doing my best to have all these matters dealt with, and if the honorable member can give me information which will expedite the settlement of accounts still outstanding, I shall be much obliged to him.

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