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Wednesday, 1 October 1958

Mr BLAND (Warringah) .- I do not wish to detain the committee very long. I merely want to say that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean) has quite adequately explained the position. This is a new method of presenting the Supplementary Estimates - that is to say, the Estimates dealing with money that has been spent on different items out of the £16,000,000 Advance to the Treasurer. Previously the Public Accounts Committee thought it would be necessary to provide a new measure to cover the appropriation of these supplementaries, but it was decided after inquiry that that would not achieve any legal advantage and was quite unnecessary. However, the Public Accounts Committee felt that the Parliament ought to know on what specific items the money had been spent. This committee is. therefore, now considering a statement showing the various items of expenditure which have been met from the Advance to the Treasurer of £16,000,000, and so has adequate information before it as to what was done with the money.

This is a way of facilitating parliamentary control of the finances. It is a machinery measure which, as the honorable member for Melbourne Ports says, although not very spectacular, is very important. If you look at this matter from the point of view of mere mechanics, it is not important, but if you look at it from the point of view of the principle that no money ought to be spent without parliamentary approval, then it is of primary importance. I commend the statement to the committee, assuring honorable members that this is one way to help the Parliament to control the expenditure of the money which was voted in a lump sum of £16,000,000 as the Advance to the Treasurer.

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