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Thursday, 23 November 1905

Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania) - I wish to refer to item No. 7 in subdivision 2, travelling expenses, £50. I intend to move an amendment, but I should also like to have an explanation. I find from the Estimates that the appropriation for travelling expenses last year was j£6o, and the amount expended was ^63. The sum set down this year is ,£50. The reduction seems to be, to a certain extent, satisfactory. But I wish particularly to draw attention to the fact that the corresponding item in the House of Representatives is ]£25> and the amount actually spent last year was - nothing. I wish to have an explanation as to how it is that ;£6o was spent by the Senate, whilst nothing was spent by the House of Representatives. If £25 is a sufficient estimate under this heading for the House of Representatives, it does seem wrong that the estimate for the Senate should be ,£50. Perhaps the Minister will, first of all, explain how the £63 was spent last year, how it is proposed to spend £50 in the coming year, and why £25 suffices for the House of Representatives ?

Senator Sir RICHARDBAKER (South Australia). - I think I can explain the matter to a certain extent. Nearly the whole of the £63 expended last year was for the hire of cabs for carrying the luggage of honorable senators to and from steamers and railway stations. I do not know under what heading the money for a similar service is set down on the House of Representatives side. I do not know anything at all about their expenditure.

Senator CLEMONS(Tasmania).-.! should really like Senator Baker, if he can, to supply details. First of all, I say clearly that I utterly disapprove of this expenditure for cabs for honorable senators. On the merits, it is wrong. When there is such a comparison with the expenditure on behalf of the House of Representatives, it appears still more wrong. We have heard from Senator Baker that this money is spent on cabs. If that is the case, it is high time it was stopped.

Senator Pearce - What are the cabs for?

Senator CLEMONS - If no better reason can be given, I shall move that the item, be struck out.

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