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Tuesday, 27 September 1904

Sir GEORGE TURNER (Balaclava) (Treasurer) . - I move -

That a sum not exceeding £430,421 be granted to His Majesty for or towards defraying the services of the year ending 30th June, 1905.

I had proposed to make the Budget statement last Tuesday, but other business intervened, and I was not in a position to carry out my original intention. Whatever our differences may be, the public servants and the public creditors must be paid, and, therefore, whilst it may seem a little extraordinary to interrupt the course of a noconfidence debate in order to ask for Supply, we must have the grant of Parliament to provide us with the money necessary to meet the payments which fall due at the end of the present month. Our present supply is exhausted, and we must have a further grant before the end of the month.

Mr Higgins - Will the Senate be able to pass the Bill?

Sir GEORGE TURNER - I am anxious to pass the Bill through this Chamber today, in order that the Senate may have an opportunity to deal with it to-morrow. Honorable members will see that even if the Bill be passed to-morrow, a very short time will be left for carrying out the necessary arrangements1. Our practice is as soon as the Royal Assent is given to the Supply Bill to send telegrams to the various officers, so that they may make all the necessary payments during the last two days of the month. The items in the schedule of the Bill are of the ordinary character. They do not comprise any debatable items, and the passing of the measure will not in any way deprive Parliament of an opportunity to discuss the balances of the votes. I regret that it is necessary to ask for further supply. Owing to circumstances over which he had no control, my predecessor was unable to make the Budget statement at the end of

July, and, therefore,- it has been necessary to pass more monthly Supply Bills than has been altogether desirable. In my view, the Estimates should be brought down at the earliest possible moment. I do not know, however, that it is wise to begin their discussion very early in the session. I tried that plan once in Victoria, and it seemed almost as if we should have time for nothing else but the discussion of the Estimates during that session. At the same time, it is only right that honorable members should have an opportunity to peruse the Estimates at an early stage. I have satisfied myself, after consultation with the responsible officers, that nothing is now being asked for that cannot safely be granted by Parliament.

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