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Thursday, 25 September 1958

Mr WILSON (Sturt) . - Mr. Speaker, the value of the work of the Public Accounts Committee is that it enables the Parliament to know that the public accounts are at all times liable to scrutiny. The work of the committee has been of great worth in enabling the Parliament to have before it the excellent reports that have been presented. But of even greater value is the fact that the committee's work has made it clear to all the departments that their accounts are liable to examination by the committee at any time. Where there is secrecy, Sir, there is no justice, but where matters are subject to public scrutiny, and where they may be brought to public notice, there is justice. It is quite obvious from the attitudes of the deputy leader of the Labour party, and of the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), who are, after ail, very prominent members of the Labour party, that if Labour came to power it would abolish this committee. If that were done it would mean that the accounts of the departments of the Commonwealth would not be brought under the scrutiny of Parliament. They would not be brought under the notice of the people of Australia. The abolition of the committee would be a retrograde step. But, fortunately, we see another splinter group within the Labour party, because some of its rank-and-file members have violently criticized the deputy leader of the Labour party and the honorable member for East Sydney. It is evident to-day that the Labour party has not a mind of its own. It does not know where it is going.It has no consistent policy. From day to day, we find one group of the Labour party coming out with one policy, and another group coming out with a policy diametrically opposed to that of the other group. This proves quite conclusively that Labour can never govern this country-

Mr SPEAKER - Order ! The honorable member is getting a little wide of the subject-matter of the debate.

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