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Thursday, 23 November 1905

Senator PLAYFORD (South AustraliaMinister of Defence) - It depends entirely upon circumstances. In one year there may be hardly any expenses in connexion with legal matters, because there may be no disputes to be sent before the Court, or if there are the disputes may have occurred in Victoria, where we have our own staff to do the legal work. If, in every case, we had to subdivide the vote it would entail a lot of trouble. Take, for instance, the item for postageand telegrams. We should have to divide the item and show the amount- required in each case. Again, take the item for office requisites. We should have to set down full details of the office requisites. It could not be done. The item to which Senator O'Keefe refers explains itself, I think. The interpreters' fees are large or small, according to the amount of work done, and it is the same with the legal expenses. Last year, £750 was voted, and only£585 was spent. This year we ask for a vote of£600, and of course only the amount which is required will be spent.

Senator CROFT(Western Australia).As a further indication of the necessity for dividing the items, I would call the attention of the Minister to the item of £45 for "Account, record, and other books, including cost of material, printing and binding," and the item of £200 for "other printing." It surely would be possible to give us a clearer statement. But when we find that the£45 is put in with the £200, as being of a kindred nature, confusion is caused. I think there is need for more conciseness in the preparation of the schedule.

Senator STEWART(Queensland). - I direct attention to the item, " Secretary to Federal Executive Council and Official Secretary to the Governor-General, £600." There is also a clerk who is paid £150. I think the whole of the work could be done by a clerk at £250 a year.

Senator Keating - The Secretary is a very hard-worked officer.

Senator STEWART - What does he do?

Senator Keating - He is the Clerk of the Executive Council, and has to prepare all the work for it, as well as keep the minutes.

Senator STEWART - I understand that it was necessary to provide a billet for a particular individual.

Senator Keating - That is notcorrect.

Senator STEWART - In any case, I move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to reduce the item " Secretary to Federal Executive Council and official Secretary to GovernorGeneral,£600," by£100.

Request negatived.

Progress reported.

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