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Wednesday, 19 September 1906

Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania) .- I desire to say a few words in reference to the amendment. I intend to accept it, because I cannot get anything else. It does not, however, represent anything like the amendment which I think ought to be made.

Senator Givens - It is only the irreducible minimum.

Senator CLEMONS - It has reached such infinitesimal proportions that it is hardly discernable, but, still, it may be carried. At any rate, I agree with what Senator Playford said as to the effect it would have, but I entirely disagree with him as to what might otherwise have been done. The amendment would secure this result: That after the vote of £20,000 had been spent we should not be asked in an Appropriation Bill to vote an additional sum of £10,000 or £20,000. Probably, the course which would be adopted by a Government if the amendment were not made would be to incur an additional expenditure of, say, ?10,000 or ?20,000 in recess, and afterwards to ask Parliament to ratify their act because the money had been spent on a laudable object. In such a case, I could imagine Senator Playford saying, " Why should you refuse to vote that money ? Look at the position we were in! The Parliament authorized us to spend ?20,000, and when we had spent the money we found that it was not sufficient. The whole expenditure would have been absolutely wasted unless we had continued the survey. What were the Government to do under the circumstances? Thev went on with the work, and surely the Parliament will not go back upon us."

Senator Fraser - They will go on with the survey notwithstanding the enactment of this amendment.

Senator CLEMONS - The amendment, if enacted, would operate as a check and safeguard, and I am very glad to see that it is regarded in that light by Senator Playford. As I have been blamed for saying nothing when I moved the motion foi a recommittal, I do not intend to delay the proceedings any longer.

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