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Thursday, 27 October 1904

Sir GEORGE TURNER - I am prepared to give the Committee an explanation. Honorable members will recollect that two elections - one in respect of the electorate of Melbourne, and the other in respect of the electorate of Riverina - were declared void. My attention was then officially called to the fact, and it was decided, after the law officers of the Crown had been consulted, that Sir Malcolm McEacharn and Mr. Blackwood, who had drawn their allowances as Members of Parliament from the date of the elections to the date on which they were declared void, were not legally entitled to the money so received. The matter also came under the notice of the Auditor- General, who referred it to me. I then applied to the two gentlemen named for a refund of the moneys so received, and they at once paid it back. Shortly afterwards the Government of which I was a member went out of office, and on my return recently I found that the honorable member for Bland, as Treasurer of the Commonwealth, had caused this sum to be placed on the Estimates. Finding that he had initialed a document approving of the two amounts which go to make up this item being placed on the Estimates, I did not interfere with them; but had I re- maineduninterruptedly in office,inall probability I should not have made this provision. Sir Malcolm McEacharn is out of Victoria, and I do not know whether he desires to draw the sum. of £94 12s. 5d. which it is proposed to refund to him; but

I am informed that Mr. Blackwood does not desire to draw the sum of £131 12s. 11d. proposed to be returned to him. These are the facts so far as they are known to me with regard to this item.

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