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Tuesday, 19 December 1905

Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales) - The items in the Bill total a fairly considerable sum to be submitted at this late period of the session when we have only a very limited possibility of giving them that critical attention which all items of expenditure are entitled to receive at the hands of a careful1 Parliament. I observe that, with regard to electoral expenditure, the amount originally was £20,000, but that it has now been replaced by an item of £35,000. That is, rather difficult to account for.

Senator Playford - It represents payments to the police, canvassers, and revision courts. The previous appropriation was underestimated, and the Government" had to meet the additional expenditure.

Senator PULSFORD - The Minister has not addressed himself to the effect these Supplementary, Estimates will have on the Commonwealth finances.

Senator Playford - As far as I know, they will Have no effect whatever.

Senator PULSFORD -- Do I understand that the expenditure was allowed for by the Treasurer in making his Budget statement ?

Senator Playford - I understand so. He" stated that he would have to meet Supplementary Estimates under the Treasurers advance.

Senator PULSFORD - Under the heading "Miscellaneous," in connexion with the Department of External Affairs, there is a sum of ^1,311, including ^267 for advertising the resources of the Commonwealth ; ^543, expenses of- the Premiers' Conference at Hobart ; .£50, expenses of Sir John Cockburn at Vienna Conference on working men's insurance; ^75, expenses of investigation of Norfolk Island affairs ; and ^283, cost of locating Wakitipu rock in Bass Straits. In connexion with the Department of Home Affairs, we have a vote of ^917 for temporary assistance. That is a considerable expenditure. There is also a vote of £800 to recoup the States for salaries of professional and clerical officers employed by the Commonwealth. Some time ago I moved for the production of papers relating to the displacement of State auditors with a view of replacing them by Commonwealth auditors.

Senator Playford - The vote for ternporary assistance is necessitated on account of certain" permanent positions not being filled, owing to the Estimates not having been dealt with by Parliament until the close of the year ; but there is a corresponding saving on account of salaries voted.

Senator PULSFORD - Can the Minister make any explanation with regard to the employment of professional officers under the control of the States, in the light of the remarks made by Mr. Carruthers? He indicated that certain auditors who had been auditing the accounts of transferred Department's had been summarily discharged by the Commonwealth - " turned into the streets" 'is the term employed by him - and that their places had been taken, by Commonwealth officers from other places.

Senator Playford - That has nothing, to do with this Bill.

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