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Wednesday, 19 September 1906

Senator GIVENS (Queensland) .- I move -

That the following words be added : - " for the purpose of reconsidering clause 3, and, if thought fit, adding the following proviso : -

Provided that no additional cost beyond the said £20,000 shall be incurred without the authority of a special Act.'"

During the discussion it has been urged,I think, very forcibly, by the Minister of Defence, that no Government could incur additional expenditure without the authority of Parliament. But we all know from practical experience elsewhere that frequently Governments have taken that course and afterwards asked Parliament to indemnify their act. Frequently, out of the Treasurer's advance vote, or by special warrant, the Government have spent money on projects and in other ways of which Parliament undoubtedly would not have approved if it had been consulted. But inasmuch as the money had been expended without its authority, the Parliament really had no remedy. The Government could come down and practically put a pistol at its head and say, " Now that we have incurred the expenditure it must be approved." The only way in which the Parliament could express its dissatisfaction with the Government was by throwing them out of office; but at the same time, the money would have to be voted, because it had already been spent. It is necessary, I think, to recommit this Bill for the purpose of adding a proviso to clause 3.

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