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Friday, 6 December 1912

Senator STEWART (Queensland) . - I rise to move an amendment in order to secure the printing of the returns showing the cost of advertising by the Federal Departments, the particulars of land acquired for a site for a General Post Office at Perth, and the lands purchased, or resumed in the financial years 1910-1911 and 191 1-19.12. Senator Henderson, who is Chairman of the Printing Committee, has interjected that I ought to have a look at the return of advertising by Federal Departments. I have had a look at the paper. It is, no doubt, a most bulky document, but it contains, I imagine, matter of some interest. Of course,, any honorable senator can get the manuscript and peruse it, but only one honorable senator can have the manuscript at a time, and if he wishes to go through the whole of it, it might consume more of his time .than he would care to spend in that work. I am well aware of the reason which has animated the Printing Committee, and it is a most praiseworthy one, no doubt - that of economy.

Senator Vardon - Not altogether.

Senator STEWART - It is praiseworthy in its own place. We are in the habit of lavishly authorizing the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of pounds, and sometimes millions, .without ever counting two, while in matters of this kind we are often penurious and penny-saving, so to speak, when I think we ought not to be. Advertising by the Federal Departments is a matter with which I think honorable senators ought to make ' themselves acquainted. They can only do so by having an opportunity to peruse the return in a printed form with the greatest ease and convenience to themselves. We are borrowing a large sum for the purpose of buying a site at Perth for a General Post Office, and I think it is desirable that honorable senators should have as much information about the matter as possible. There is another paper which I think ought to be printed, and that is one regarding the adoption of the karri sleepers for the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway. This is also an important question about which there has been a great deal of discussion and concerning which, no doubt, there will be ample debate during the coming elections. For that reason I think it is desirable that honorable senators on both sides should be fortified with the facts, and even with all the fictions, which have been brought forward in connexion with that matter. That is my reason for desiring the printing of the paper. With regard to the return of lands purchased or resumed during the last two financial years, I think it is necessary that honorable senators should keep themselves well up to everything pertaining to that matter of importance. I move -

That the following words be added : - " and that the following papers be also printed - Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway - Papers re adoption of Karri sleepers - Lands purchased or resumed in the financial years 1910-11, 1011-12 - Return."

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