Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 10 December 1912

Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania) .- When Senator Millen does read his proof, and when the Minister reads his proof, we shall probably know what is meant. But I am not concerned with that. What I am concerned with is this : That I think it is absolutely obligatory on the Minister, after what has been said, to produce at some definite time the letter which was sent by him-

Senator Pearce - Not by me, by my secretary. My secretary has gone home, but I shall do that to-morrow.

Senator CLEMONS - The Minister, though only a layman, knows enough of law to know that what he has done by his agent, especially when, he as a Minister does something through his secretary, is done by himself.

Senator Pearce - Certainly it is.

Senator CLEMONS - I go no further with this controversy than to invite the Minister to get a copy of the letter sent to Mr. Knibbs, through his secretary, by his instructions. Any answer which the Minister may have read this afternon has no proper relevancy until we know exactly the text of the question which Mr. Knibbs has answered.

Senator Pearce - It deals with the question of loans.

Senator CLEMONS - It may deal with the question of loans in half-a-dozen different ways. The answer is dependent entirely upon the question which brought it about. I understood the Vice-President of the Executive Council to say that the Government did not indulge in the usual redtape practice. Is that what the VicePresident of the Executive Council said?

Senator McGregor - I did not make a general statement. I made it with respect to the transaction under discussion.

Senator Rae - He said that the Government avoided red tape in that particular transaction.

Senator CLEMONS - Is that what the Vice-President of the Executive Council said ?

Senator McGregor - Yes.

Senator CLEMONS - I do not see much avoidance of red tape. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has told us that the rent of these properties has gone into one pocket, and that the interest has been paid out of another. Is that what he calls avoiding red tape?

Senator McGregor - Yes.

Senator CLEMONS - In a simple financial transaction of this sort the whole thing could have been done by one Department just as an ordinary business man would have carried out the transaction. If an ordinary business man had been buying this land he would have credited on the one side the rents that were due, and on the other side debited, the interest. The Government have not done that.

Senator McGregor - You know that two, in fact, three Departments, are involved according to the old precedent.

Senator CLEMONS -That is an admission that the old red-tape procedure is in force to-day, not a proof that it has been done away with. The vendors of this property may be said to have lent the Common wealth Government money, and I want to know what interest the Government have paid on it. I heard some mention of 5 per cent., and I want to know if we are paying 5 per cent, pending the completion of this transaction. I also want the Vice-President of the Executive Council to tell the Committee what rents have been received from this property since the agreement for sale was executed. I think the Committee is entitled to that information. I want to compare the amount paid by the Government in interest because of this delay of six months, with the amount the Commonwealth has to receive with respect to rents due for the same period.

Suggest corrections