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Tuesday, 31 July 1906

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) . - We are voting very largely in the dark in dealing with this Bill. The Treasurer ought to know more about the necessity for such proposals, and the way in which they will affect the keeping of the accounts, than any honorable member who has not been in the Treasury can be expected to know. It should be his business to enlighten the Committee as to the necessity for any of these clauses, where honorable members desire that information, or where the effect of the clauses is not plain on the face of them.

Sir John Forrest - I tell the honorable gentleman that the Auditor- General is in favour of them.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The right honorable gentleman has already told me so across the table, and I say that we should have had the opinion of the AuditorGeneral placed before us.

Sir John Forrest - I see no necessity for that. If I say so, surely it is all right ?

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I mean through the Treasurer. I am nob asking for the production of the document in which the Auditor-General's opinion is stated. A measure of this kind, proposing alterations, which might be far-reaching, in connexion with the audit of the public accounts, should surely be placed before the Auditor-General for his consideration. It should not emanate wholly from the Treasury, since the Treasury Department sometimes objects to the AuditorGeneral'srequirements. I should like the Treasurer to tell the Committee whether this Bill has been placed before the Auditor-General, whether he has approved of it, or has taken exception to any part of it, and, if so, to which part?

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