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Wednesday, 23 June 1915

Sir JOHN FORREST (Swan) . - I should like to say a word with regard to the way in which the Estimates are presented to us. They are not in the shape that we expected to see them, and they are not in the shape in. which, I think, they were promised to us. The expenditure on account of current account, and the expenditure on account of war, is all lumped together, though I have no' doubt that in the Departments of the- Treasury and Defence, an account is kept of all- expenditure on account of war.

Mr Fisher - It is being kept.

Sir JOHN FORREST - I regret that the Estimates were not presented in this way. I know there is some difficulty in doing it, but the difficulty is no greater than is experienced in every State of the Commonwealth in regard to loan accounts and loan moneys. £300,000,000 of loan money has been expended in Australia on public works, and the accounts have always been submitted separately. We had the loan Estimates submitted to us in the same way as current Estimates on departmental accounts, and I had hoped that the same course would have been followed in regard to this disastrous war. I admit that there is some difficulty. As all our expenditure on account of war is derived from loan, I had hoped that course would have been followed when dealing with this great war expenditure. As it is, we are in the- dark, except in so far as we will be able to get returns, byandby, of the expenditure; and I think the right honorable gentleman promised to give us these returns.

Mr Joseph Cook - He did.

Mr Fisher - The accounts are being kept.

Sir JOHN FORREST - Even now, when we are asked for money in regard to expenditure from loan on account of war, it is mixed up with expenditure on current account.

Mr Fisher - We are keeping them separately.

Sir JOHN FORREST - But my point is that we expected, and I understood, that these Estimates would be submitted in the same way as were the Estimates for the £300,000,000 of loan money in the States.

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