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Tuesday, 6 September 1960

Mr DAVIDSON (Dawson) (PostmasterGeneral) . - For the information of the committee I propose to outline briefly the order and the grouping of the departments which it is proposed we shall follow in this debate. The grouping of certain departments is proposed for the purpose of enabling orderly discussion. The following is the order and the grouping proposed, the first five departments, it is proposed, to be considered separately: -

ESTIMATES 1960-61.

The Parliament.

Prime Minister's Department.

Department of External Affairs.

Department of the Treasury.

Attorney-General's Department.

Department of the Interior.

Department of Works.

Department of Civil Aviation.

Department of Shipping and Transport.

Department of Territories.

Territories of the Commonwealth -

Northern Territory.

Australian Capital Territory.

Norfolk Island.

Papua and New Guinea.

Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Christmas Island.

Department of Customs and Excise.

Department of Trade.

Department of Primary Industry.

Department of Health.

Department of Social Services.

War and Repatriation Services.

Payments to or for the States - Department of Health.

Department of Immigration.

Department of Labour and National Service.

Department of National Development.

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.

Australian Atomic Energy Commission.

Defence Services -

Department of Defence.

Department of the Navy.

Department of the Army.

Department of Air.

Department of Supply.

Other Services.

Miscellaneous Services.

Refunds of Revenue.

Advance to the Treasurer.

Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve.

Bounties and Subsidies.

Business Undertakings -

Commonwealth Railways.

Postmaster-General's Department.

Broadcasting and Television Services.

It will be seen that the practice followed in previous debates of this nature has been proposed. Where it is necessary to group departments for the purposes of debate they have been grouped according to the affinity between them so as to avoid any unnecessary repetition by honorable members during the debate.

I want to say, Mr. Temporary Chairman, that the Government has no desire to stifle the debate on the Estimates unduly in any way. We hope to be able to give adequate time for debate, and of course we hope also - and we believe it will be possible with the co-operation of our friends across the table - to ensure that there will be no necessity later on for the institution of the guillotine.

Mr Duthie - Do you propose three weeks for the debate?

Mr DAVIDSON - On a rough estimate of the time which we expect will be sufficient for the debate on the estimates for the various departments, we consider that approximately 60 hours will be spent, which is about three hours more than was spent last year on the debate. This, leaving time for some few intrusions of other matters which may have to be dealt with, would provide between three or four weeks, which should be sufficient for the debate.I mention that there may be other items intruding on the debate on the Estimates because of the need to have some business on the notice-paper ready for the conclusion of the debate on the Estimates, but I assure the House that any time so spent on other matters will be kept to a minimum and will not be considered as part of the time devoted to the various departments of the Estimates.

I think that that sums up the position. An outline of the proposed grouping has been given in writing to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam), andI hope that they will indicate that they are prepared to accept the grouping on the basis that I have stated so that we can proceed now with the debate.

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