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Thursday, 3 March 1932

Mr BEASLEY (West Sydney) (12:59 PM) . - This clause has been inserted for the purpose of imposing additional hardships on New South Wales. If the Loan Council authorized the issue of treasury-bills and the Commonwealth Treasury subsequently issued them, the part of the issue to which New South Wales was entitled would be backed by the productive capacity and other resources of the State. At the last meeting of the Loan Council, Tasmania and Western Australia insisted upon having their share, despite the fact that they have not lived up to the terms of the socalled Premiers plan by balancing their budgets. As honorable members know, those two States have been receiving subsidies because of the alleged difficulties that they have suffered under federation. All this has been to the detriment of New South Wales, and it is beyond my comprehension that some of those who represent the Mother State should approve of a law which is designed to penalize New South Wales. If the Loan Council provides certain moneys for defined public works, those moneys should be expended, so that the works may be completed and made revenue-producing. The proposal of the Commonwealth Government will throw thousands more into unemployment, and those who represent the State of New South Wales should resist it. There should be no restriction of the works programme that was approved by the last meeting of the Loan Council.

Mr Hutchin - Irrespective of the cost 'i

Mr BEASLEY - I know what is in the honorable member's mind. He should cultivate a broader outlook. I have repeatedy stated that the major portion of our costs is due to the enormous rate of interest that is charged on borrowed money. The annual wages bill of the New South Wales railways is £9,000,000, while interest on that public utility amounts to .£7,000,000! Wages were reduced and employees were rationed, but the interest rate was left untouched. The honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. John Lawson) is the only honorable member opposite who has been frank in this matter of costs. In his maiden speech in this chamber he admitted that those engaged in industry have already made adequate sacrifices. I remind the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Hutchin) that special authorities have been set up to determine rates of wages. This Government declared that it would not interfere with that procedure. I remind honorable members opposite that the Bruce-Page Government was defeated on that issue in 1929. Honorable members who represent New South Wales have a duty to perform to that State. They must give its Government an opportunity to complete the public works that it has in hand, otherwise many more will be thrown out of employment.

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