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Tuesday, 8 November 1904

Mr REID - I think that it is entirely unnecessary to bring the name of the GovernorGeneral into this discussion. It may add some piquancy to the debate, and show how thoroughly fearless and democratic we are, but the Governor-General has no more to do with these items than we have. Instead of having our own Government House, as honorable members know, we are indebted to the State of Victoria and to the State of New South Wales for granting us properties of enormous value, free of cost, for the use of our Governor-General. Surely that entails the obligation of keeping these properties in a proper state of maintenance and repair. That is all these items are intended to cover. So long as we retain possession of these two Government Houses we must incur the responsibility of such expenses. If honorable members will analyze them they will find that all these expenses represent obligations which devolve upon us as the occupiers of these valuable properties. I admit that the amount asked for does seem large in comparison with that which was expended last year. That fact, however, may afford its own explanation. For instance, last year we voted £7,387, of which we spent only £6,000 - thus effecting a saving of £1,387. Honorable members can readily understand that that saving may be responsible for throwing additional expenditure upon the present year. But the fact remains that Parliament voted £7,387last year, and is only asked to vote an additional £19 this year. Of course, even these votes are subject to the exercise of the greatest economy. If we find it possible to discharge all our obligations more economically of course we shall do so. But it is much better to deal with Estimates of a full character, and thus to avoid claims being subsequently made which involve the introduction of Supplementary Estimates. The Committee may rest assured that we shall not spend all this money if we can avoid it. Nevertheless, the amounts which have been placed upon the Estimates are those which we deen: to be necessary, in view of the obligations to which I have referred.

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